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Damani Phillips

Dr. Damani Philips is a native of Pontiac, MI, where he began playing at the age of 10. He currently serves as assistant professor of jazz studies and African-American studies at the University of Iowa, where he teaches applied jazz saxophone, directs jazz combos, and teaches courses in African-American music, jazz history, jazz theory and improvisation.

Previously, Phillips was assistant professor of music (Jazz Studies) at Grinnell College, where he directed the jazz ensemble and taught jazz composition/arranging, jazz history, improvisation, musicianship and aural skills.

He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in music from DePaul University and the University of Kentucky in classical saxophone, and a second Masters degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University. Phillips recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is one of the first African-Americans in the country to earn this degree.

An active performer, pedagogue and composer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the United States, England and Japan. He has previously served on the adjunct faculty of Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and Macomb Community College (Macomb, MI), and is actively sought as a guest artist, clinician and adjudicator.

As a performer, Phillips has performed with Christian McBride, Terrence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Belgrave, Terrell Stafford, Maceo Parker, Ira Sullivan, The Temptations, Red Holloway, Greg Gisbert, the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, the touring Dave Matthews cover band “Crush”, and many others.

Phillips released his debut CD "Yaktown Nights" in 2004, followed by “The String Theory” in November 2010, featuring original compositions and arrangements that combine a traditional jazz rhythm section with a string quartet. His most recent quartet recording, “The Reckoning,” (featuring Pat Bianchi on Hammond Organ, Greg Gisbert on trumpet and Lewis Nash on drums) was released in December 2013.


Yamaha 875 Custom (Black Laquer) Vandoren V16 Mouthpeices - 7 facing Vandoren Java Reeds - Strength 3


* The Reckoning, CD of the Month, KUVO Jazz 98 Denver: http://kuvo.org/post/january-2013-cd-month

* Review of The Reckoning, AAJ, by Victor Verney: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/damani-phillips-the- reckoning-by-victor-verney.php#.U6X_SPldXAs

* Review of The String Theory, AAJ, by Victor Verney: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/damani-phillips-the-string- theory-by-victor-verney.php#.U6YEM_ldXAs

* Review of The String Theory from "The Muse's Muse": http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-damaniphillips- thestringtheory.html
Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Advanced only


Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Kenny Garrett
saxophone, alto
Antonio Hart
Joe Henderson


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

No More Apologies

Openmind Records



Dazzle Recordings



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