Phil wishes he was a musician (well, he is one, but he wishes he were a good one) but he's not frustrated by it. He's frustrated with a lot of other aspects of the so-called biz. Therefore, he's excited by independently released jazz.
I began my love affair with jazz during captivity in a prestigious New England prep school, swapping a modicum of notoriety as the school's only rock guitarist for a stint replete in mediocrity in my friendly, neighborhood jazz band. There, I specialized in pentatonic scales, avoid notes, wah-wah pedal and tastefully laying out on anything simultaneously involving a flat 7th and a sharp 13th. This was painless, given the band included the amazing Thomas Chapin. After gaining familiarity with the rich legacy of jazz guitar, I incisively mothballed the old Les Paul in favor of an electric bass, on which I was, thankfully, never forced to solo over changes in front of other people.
A lifelong Bostonian, I remain as plugged-in to the local and national scene as family, work and fanaticism can practically allow. Inspired by the level of vitality, artistry and musicianship rising up out of the jazz world, much of it provided by incredibly adventurous musicians known heretofore as sidemen, I continue to feel compelled to write about it, getting the message out there via reviews and interviews for AAJ, Jambase, Bass Frontiers, and Global Bass.
After contributing a cover story for Bass Frontiers magazine on new-millennium bassist, version 5.0 Matthew Garrison, he provided me with some contacts, which in turn facilitated contact with virtually every irritated musician I've profiled since. I've written liners to an amazing double-disc by guitarist/sound sculptor Jonathan Townes, featuring the criminally under-heard bassist Neal Fountain, called This is Secret Music. Also, I recently contributed liners to Rob Wilkerson's new Fresh Sounds release, Imaginary Landscape, which should make you feel better if you listen to it all the way through once. This reminds me that I wanna be Jordi Pojul when I grow up.
In recognition of the jazz's current stature in the marketplace, I've been focusing on independent artists and labels. I vow not to waste my time or the reader's by slagging on some hard working musician-I'll just ignore them. There's just too much stellar stuff out there, flying under the radar, that consumers are ignoring already.
In no small part due to the optimism, validation and efforts of Michael Ricci begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, and inspiration by David Adler, Todd Jenkins, the babytuna and yes, even Nils, I currently find myself a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, even though my stuff is usually too frikkin' long! Finally, I remain confident that I will be uniquely positioned when jazz's popularity comes back around!