Recent Listening: “New” Ones By Anne Phillips And Roger Kellaway


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Until recently, it may have seemed that the singer and songwriter Anne Phillips had resigned as a performer. She had not. Those who remember her 1959 debut album, Born To Be Blue, may be delighted to know that her years below the radar as a writer, arranger, conductor and studio musician did nothing to dilute her impact as a performer. She has buoyed her undiminished presence with a follow-up to her second rare album, Gonna Lay My Heart On The Line, released in 2000. The new one captures her in person at the venerable Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. In it, she covers several of her own songs and a few standards. Phillips’s exceptional (“Always be sure you really need that adjective,” a newspaper editor used to yell at me). Her (yes, I’m sure…exceptional) accompanists are pianist Roger Kellaway, bassist Chuck Berghoffer, and New York saxophonist Bob Kindred, who died in 2016. From only the third album of her busy career, here is Anne Phillips revisiting Robert Wells’ and Mel Tormé’s “Born To Be Blue."

Coincidentally, Kellaway is also out with a new album, The Many Open Minds Of Roger Kellaway. Accompanied by guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Dan Lutz, he plays works by Richard Rodgers, Thelonious Monk, Paul Desmond, Cole Porter and here, the Sonny Rollins jazz standard “Doxy.”

Roger Kellaway’s trio was recorded live at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. So was Anne Phillips. The Kellaway album was recorded in 2010. Why it was held so long before being released, I don’t know. Your ears may tell you that the problem wasn’t quality.

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