Damani Phillips | The Reckoning

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Jazz: Bebop Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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The Reckoning

by Damani Phillips

A hip mix of original compositions and arrangements of not so-standard jazz tunes played by some of NYC's most respected musicians. Hard-hitting straight ahead jazz with a little something for listeners of all backgrounds! www.damaniphillips.com
Genre: Jazz: Bebop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. No Room for Squares
6:18 $0.99
2. One for C.P.
7:05 $0.99
3. Shalom
6:27 $0.99
4. You Are Who You Are
7:59 $0.99
5. Sinister Intent
9:32 $0.99
6. Lotus Blossom
4:58 $0.99
7. Isfahan
8:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
All purchases come with exclusive access to bonus video footage of the recording session. Please be sure give e-mail address at check-out!

“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”. God bless, and more importantly, enjoy!



to write a review

John M. Krantz, pianist and CD Baby Artist

Reckoning Is As Good As It Gets
Reckoning Is As Good As It Gets
This compilation of three fairly obscure tunes written by well known masters and four originals by alto saxophonist, Damani Phillips is truly a refreshing blend of the best hard bop bands of the past and tasteful modern grooves. The use of Pat Bianchi’s Hammond B3 in the quartet is a great addition as the organ is a much neglected instrument in today’s music and the bass lines and rich sustained chords that it produces conjures up memories of another era.
Needless to say, Lewis Nash is the “go to guy” for a session like this as he seems to play with everyone these days. But that is for good reason as his drumming is always impeccable. The fact that he is on this recording with Phillips is testament to the sax player’s talents. Trumpeter Greg Gisbert rounds out the group with admirable skills.
But this recording is Damani Phillps’ date all the way! His song selection is commendable. From the memorable Hank Mobley composition, “No Room For Squares” to the final “Isfalan” (Strayhorn), there is not a weak moment on this recording. This reviewer has the old vinyl recording of the opening Mobley piece which he probably hasn’t heard since he retired his turntable nearly 15 years ago so hearing that melody again was a pure delight and the rendition was not the least disappointing.
Phillips’ own compositions are just complex enough to keep you on your toes, but easy enough to listen to if just want to bask in the l the joy that you can feel from the playing. “Shalom” stands out primarily because of the scalar mode which Phillips describes as Klezmer in his liner notes. “You Are Who You Are” is a waltz and “Sinister Intent” has some quirky interplay between the two horn players and Nash displays why he is such an in-demand drummer.
Perhaps my personal favorite is Kenny Dorham’s “Lotus Blossom” in which Phillips shares another talent with his entertaining scat singing. I appreciate this style of singing done well, but when an accomplished instrumentalist uses his voice as an instrument (such as that of James Moody), it is apparent that they know what they are doing.
My only initial negative thought was that the recording mix could have favored Phillips’ alto just a bit more. But after numerous listenings; I realized that Damani Philllps has such a command of his instrument and a range of emotion from a whisper to a screech, that it would indeed be difficult to get a perfect volume mix with the ensemble at all times. In conclusion, let me add that, though I love the hard bop of Lee Morgan, Mobley, Adderly et al; this is not the typical recording that I listen to as I usually listen to piano trios for my own musical lessons. Nevertheless, I have immersed myself in this recording for three days in a row at the time of this writing and I’m ready to listen to more of it. Simply put, it is a damned good CD!

- John M. Krantz, pianist and CD Baby artist