Phillips holds the distinctive and enviable position of being a musician and jazz educator in of all places - Thailand. Bangkok Edge includes an incredibly gifted tenor saxophonist in Jakob Dinesen. Phillips and Dinesen hooked up at a club Phillips was working and apparently the musical connection was instantaneous.
Dinesen is a perfect fit for a more old school selection of tunes. The Billy Strayhorn classic "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing" and "Naima" from the legendary John Coltrane are handled with a more open ended harmonic approach that breathes a bit of fresh air into some timeless classics. Phillips plays the virtuoso lyrical tightrope with a more organic feel that gives the harmonic base a true sense of purpose. Phillips contributes some inventive original material including "Blues For?" which has an articulated attitude of a blues with just the right amount of dynamic tension. Were it not for a fairly decent working knowledge of the set list here one could easily mistake "Blues For?" as a classic waiting in the wings.
As stated previously, musical frames of reference are inherently unfair. For the uninitiated who does Dan Phillips sound like? Dan Phillips of course...Phillips is but a small handful of players I have heard this year that establish their own distinctive voice and unique melodic direction. Musical gun to my head I would say take Kenny Burrell and John Abercrombie and mix well and one may be close to digging the sound. Better yet, take Bangkok Edge which is going on my year end best of list if I have to simply extend the list. A brilliant talent anchored by the fabulous lyrical swing of Pornchart Viriyapark on bass and anchored by the rock steady work of Chanutr Techatana-Nan on drums.
Tracks: Beatrice; The Observer; Day of Wine And Roses; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing; Have You Met Miss Jones; Ask Me Now; 26-2; Blues For?; Naima; Evidence.
Personnel: Dan Phillips: guitar; Jakob Dinesen: tenor sax; Chanutr Techatana-nan: drums; Porchart Viriyapark: bass.