The swing craze may have faded, but the authentic heart of the music will never die. In the hands of 85-year-old Flip Phillips, the spirit and sound of the original swing era are as alive and true as he. Whether on his own compositions like the flying intro/outro "The Mark of Zorro" or the rythmic and subdued central title track or on Rodgers and Hart’s "Where or When" or Duke’s "In a Mellow Tone," Phillips' sax is warm and friendly, making each song a story you want to listen to as much as you want to move to. Polishing Phillips' burnished brass are notable cohorts like Joe Lovano and James Carter. The rhythm section of Christian McBride and Kenny Washington make their multi-generational presence felt with little gap and appropraite subtlety. Guitarist/co-composer Howard Laden and pianist Benny Green chime in when appropriate and offer some impressive lead breaks as well.
Green’s opening snippet of "Baby Bumblebee," for example, cracks "Flip the Whip" to jovial life. From the building jitterbug snap of "Exactly Like Us" to the noir-y, breathy plod of "Susan’s Dream," this veteran of Goodman, Norvo, Herman and Granz keeps pace with his latest fellow performers, some of whom are over 50 years his junior, in an array of original sets and cherished covers. Even his occasional slurs and squeals seem the planned product of an experienced master more than the misgivings of age. Leading the way and keeping the star-studded conglomerate in a tight and snappy line, Phillips shows once again what has kept him swinging all these years.