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Thousands have seen him perform during his ongoing tenure at “The Funky Pirate” located on New Orleans’ famous “Bourbon Street”, yet guitarist/vocalist, E.J. Phillips and his “Electric Blues Band” have eluded widespread notoriety. With his second and latest release, recorded live at the Ft. Wayne, IN venue known as “Club Soda,” the legendary guitarist tears it all up outside his native New Orleans. Here, with the assistance of guitarist, George Ogg, bassist, James Baker and drummer, Kent Klee, Phillips’ understated, bluesy vocals and blitzing solos serve as a stark indicator of the man’s expansive blues/rock vernacular. Phillips states that he rarely if ever performs the same solo twice: a notion that is perhaps more indicative of a jazz artist, as the ensemble renders a sprightly mix, consisting of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “The Sky is Cryin,” Skip James’ “Killin Floor” and others. However, Phillips might also reside as perhaps one of the preeminent interpreters of the Jimi Hendrix legacy via his rippling firepower and angular lines. Moreover, Phillips accelerates this already vibrant set via his justifiably explosive spins on Hendrix’ “Voodoo Chile” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” Hence, the artist’s electrified approach and irrefutable compassion for the blues shines radiantly on this newly released effort. Recommended.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.