Friday, December 28, 2012


"The Reckoning" is a uniquely varied body of work, consisting of a mixture of original compositions and arrangements of infrequently recorded tunes in the jazz repertoire. As has become the standard for my prior recordings, stylistic variety is ever-present within this collection of songs. While seeking to create music that is inviting to a wide variety of listeners, my hard bop roots are front and center in the flavor and spirit of the album. The original compositions on the album strongly reflect the influence of this period of jazz history on my musicianship, consisting of tunes that are substantive yet relatable to many.

The arrangements of per-existing tunes represent personal favorites from the catalogs of jazz giants Kenny Dorham and Hank Mobley. In keeping with the edgy, hard-bop spirit of my work, I sought the assistance of the best musicians in New York to help in bringing my music to life. I enlisted the help of NYC jazz standouts Greg Gisbert on trumpet, Hammond B3 Organist Pat Bianchi, and the incomparable Lewis Nash on drums. The caliber of musicians joining me on the album give my music an infectiously organic spirit; all while exuding the highest standards of quality and musical substance. "The Reckoning" marks the first time that these three individuals have ever come together to record, yet they play like they've been performing together for years! The combined personnel on this album work together to create a recording that is a exceptional listening experience. The album is highly effective in striking a harmonious balance between the old and new while allowing me to stay true to my individual voice as a musician and composer.

The Tracks:
1. No Room for Squares - One of my favorite tunes by Hank Mobly, and a song that I've been waiting a long time to record. The chemistry between Pat and Lewis is phenomenal on this track!

2. One for C.P. - One of my original tunes written specifically for the album as a tribute to my late father Clarence Phillips. Though this funk tune was written to purposefully be accessible to less experienced listeners, substance and integrity was not compromised in doing so. If the funk doesn't get you, the hip chord progression and fantastic solo work will! Check out Greg Gisbert's killin' solo on this one!

3. Shalom - Another of my original tunes written a while back and revisited for this recording. Inspired by my fascination with Cannonball Adderley's version of "Fiddler on the Roof", this hard bop monster is constructed around the Jewish scale commonly employed in Klesmer music.

4. You Are Who You Are - Another original written specifically for the album. A pretty jazz waltz with a interesting chord progression that is a nice counterbalance to the other tracks on the album.

5. Sinister Intent - My personal favorite on the album. Another original tune that uses a "jungle" or "breakbeat" feel. Intricate counterpoint and unorthodox harmonization between the two horn parts make for a unique and distinctly gritty melody. Lewis Nash is a killer on this track, and the solo work of everyone in the group is second to none! You'll never see the ending coming!!

6. Lotus Blossom - My arrangement of the Kenny Dorham classic. Some interesting experimentations with tempo manipulation and metrical superimposition that's reminiscent of Wynton's "Autumn Leaves" from the 80's. Rumor has it that you might hear me lay down my horn and rip a few scat choruses on this track! An interesting twist on a great tune.

7. Isfahan - My favorite Billy Strayhorn tune. This one pays homage to the lineage of jazz. No fancy arrangements or slick harmonic experiments - just the hard swingin', straight-forward jazz that I grew up loving! Pretty tune that has been overlooked for far too long! It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I present to you "The Reckoning". ... Full Description God bless, and more importantly, enjoy!

~ CD Universe

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