Damani Phillips | The String Theory

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Classical: String Quartet Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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The String Theory

by Damani Phillips

Ever wonder what would happen if a jazz quartet and a string quartet combined musical forces? Here's your answer!!! A musical blend unlike anything else you've ever heard.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pavane
6:39 $0.99
2. Destiny's Eyes
6:59 $0.99
3. Spanish Kiss
8:20 $0.99
4. Lush Life
9:17 $0.99
5. Nothing Seems Pretty Anymore
5:40 $0.99
6. Carmen
6:57 $0.99
7. Spanish Kiss (Barcelona Nights Version)
5:01 $0.99
8. Nancy with the Laughing Face
7:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Visit my artist website at www.damaniphillips.com

Dr. Damani Philips is a native of Pontiac, MI, where he began playing at the age of 10. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music (Jazz Studies) at Grinnell College, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble and teaches courses in jazz composition/arranging, jazz history, improvisation, musicianship and aural skills. He has earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from DePaul University and The University of Kentucky in classical saxophone; and a second Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University. Phillips recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is one of the first African-Americans in the country to earn this degree.

An active performer, pedagogue and composer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the United States, England and Japan. He has previously served on the adjunct faculty of Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and Macomb Community College (Macomb, MI), and is actively sought as a guest artist, clinician and adjudicator. As a performer, Phillips has performed with artists/groups such as Christian McBride, Terrence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Belgrave, Terrell Stafford, Maceo Parker, Ira Sullivan, The Temptations, Red Holloway, Greg Gisbert, the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, the touring Dave Matthews cover band “Crush”, and many others. As a recording artist, Phillips released his debut CD "Yaktown Nights" in 2004 - also available on CDBaby.com.

The Album:
In recent years, I have noticed an unrealized opportunity for increased collaboration between the worlds of jazz and classical music. Both musical styles co-exist with each other but infrequently have the opportunity or cause to collaborate on a musical level. Part of the reason for this, in my opinion, is a lack of repertoire that requires the talents of musicians from both genres to work together. In an effort to fill this need for collaborative repertoire, I wrote/arranged the music contained in "The String Theory", which calls for the combined efforts of a traditional jazz rhythm section (piano, bass and drum set) and string quartet. The use of strings in a jazz context is not a new concept; however, few jazz musicians have taken advantage of the veritable bounty of possibilities that collaborations of this nature offer to the jazz composer. The use of strings in this context has, in many ways, become a lost art in the world of jazz composition. As a result, the use of this instrumental configuration is now considered a fresh and creative direction in jazz music. The nature of jazz music in this day and age suggests that artistic success in the genre require that its musicians and composers aspire to break boundaries and look to branch out in unconventional musical directions. In the music contained on this album,, I believe that I have found a unique and substantive way to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, exemplify the potential benefits of such collaboration and produce an artistic product that would be artistically relevant in contemporary music circles.

My musical background is unusually diverse, as I was a late bloomer in jazz. Just as my musical background is diverse, so is the product that I have created with this project. Despite the popular opinion that jazz and classical music are very different and separate musical styles, this album proves that these two styles of music are alike in many ways, and that the combination of the two can create a refreshing new direction in music. The tracks contained on the album deserves include original compositions, arrangements of jazz standards, and re-harmonized arrangements of popular classical pieces.

The Tracks:
1. Pavane: A new arrangement of my quartet arrangement that appears on "Yaktown Nights", which incorporates the string section in ways that will blow your mind! A track that pays respect to Faure's composition while offering something new, fresh and imaginative. Brace yourself for the string quartet soli that happens near the end!

2. Destiny's Eyes: One of my originals that turned out gorgeously! A beautiful ballad that lets the strings do what they do best, while offering up tasty harmonic textures that stimulate the ears and stir the soul. Check out the soft touch of my pianist Ben Markley on this one!! The lone album track where I make a rare appearance on soprano sax.

3. Spanish Kiss: A new arrangement of my original composition that fuses a plethora of Latin styles. What do you get when you perform a flamenco-inspired melody over a bossa nova/bolero backdrop with a splash of swing mixed in for good measure? The sensuousness that is Spanish Kiss. You've gotta hear this one for yourself!

4. Lush Life: My arrangement of the Billy Strayhorn classic. The strings make this already superb song something quite exceptional.

5. Nothing Seems Pretty Anymore: Another of my originals written in 6/8 that requires much more than usual of the strings. Check out the metric modulation that happens mid-way through the sax solo.

6. Carmen: My arrangement of the popular "Habanera" from Bizet's opera Carmen. Who'd have ever thought that an operatic aria could blend with hip hop (plus a splash of funk)?!?! Me.....that's who! A great example of what can be accomplished with a strong rhythm section, a versatile string quartet and little bit of imagination.

7. Spanish Kiss - Barcelona Nights: The only quartet track on the album. Transforms my original bossa/bolero into an energetic, and extremely hip track that is more in line with tastes beyond conventional jazz. But don't worry - jazz lovers will have much to enjoy on this track too. The straight-ahead roots of the quartet are DEFINITELY present!

8. Nancy: My arrangement of the popular jazz standard. The first jazz quartet + string quartet chart that I wrote. A beautiful rendition of this tune that captures the spirit of the song very well.

If you're tired of the ordinary, sample the uniqueness that is "The String Theory" - a truly unique perspective on jazz music!

Select album reviews:
All About Jazz - http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=38925&page=1

Des Moines Music Coalition - http://desmoinesmc.com/new-music/894-dr-damani-phillipsqclazzq-is-in-session



to write a review

Robert Brooks

Another Killer Album
This is a great example of having a killin' idea for an album and executing it perfectly. From the first pizzicato to the last sub-tone this disc is full of simply awe-inspiring playing from an incredibly talented saxophonist. If you want to hear a great group of musicians led by one of the coolest cats out there, then this is your disc. Great job man!

Deanna Schindler-Ord

Amazing Album Even for Jazz Newbies
I've been a fan of Dr Philips for a long time, even though I know very little about jazz. But I can say with certainty that String Theory is one of my favorite albums!

Aundrea Washington

The String Theory
This CD is the "BOMB!" big ups to you Damani Phillips you're a very talented young man keep up the good work!, can't wait until that Christmas CD come out! So to all of you jazz fanatics out there, I strongly advise you to pick this CD up I promise you will not be disappointed.