Take Five With Phil E. Clem

Phil E. Clem By

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Meet Phil E. Clem:
Phil E. Clem is all about music without restrictions, making the connection, touching lives, taking music to new heights, creating new possibilities and stages for contemporary instrumental and nu jazz. Practical connection with music began with his association with gospel/church music in his high school years; beginning with drumming and then the keyboards, which were the most inspiring of instruments.

As the only music student, out of 13 others, who could remember practically all he had been taught in piano basics after a full month of no classes, exercises, practice or rehearsals, he became the only one out of the bunch who was finally taught to play the piano by ear. This was the beginning of the Journey. Self discovery began with his association with jazz in the later years. The dearth of good coaches along with the zeal to bring strange inspirations to light resulted in being 98 percent self-taught. starting with: The Book-The Contemporary Keyboardist (by John Novello), Dave Frank, Dave Lamina (Of Berklee School of Music) , James Wrubel. In the course of this, the refining of his eclectic musical taste ensued; not fully identifying with distinct acclaimed musical genres but staying afloat in the world of fusion creativity.

His debut studio album, Radiant, released in October, 2012, was the first official release of his instrumental collections. A nine-track album of original ideas and compositions inspired way back in days of the beginnings alongside the current ones.

Keyboards, piano.

Teachers and/or influences?
Teachers: Dave Frank, Dave Lamina Influences: Yanni, Hiromi Uehara, Herbie Hancock.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I had the opportunity to practically connect with music; joined the church choir but was not fascinated by singing. I opted to play the drums which I enjoyed until I learned to play the keyboard by ear, which gave me much more fulfillment.

Your sound and approach to music:
My approach to instrumentals is similar to that of Yanni-not about rules, not about a fixed Instrumental genre or style, its about self expression and crazy fusion creativity. Music is a language with many dialects; I am free to speak any that I choose at any given time.

For who I sound like, I am a rare kind; the closest I know is Yanni. (But a Yanni that improvises).

Your teaching approach:
"A little Yeast worketh the dough"-You don't need to know all to make an impact! Discover and perfect your area of specialization.

Your dream band:
I definitely love to work with popular artists; I am more particular about working with great upcoming artists like myself.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
When there was no good food to eat after a night performance.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
"Radiant" is my favorite recording. It's a track that soothes the soul, not jazz oriented just contemporary instrumental. I was inspired to compose it when I discovered a new tone on my keyboard, called "Rain." On playing it it just flowed naturally. It's got a little South African flavor in its intro; in all it is sweet. Its more of a movie soundtrack.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
First Jazz Video: Chick Corea Electronic Workshop;

First Album: Yanni Tribute (Video).

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
For those who need a new feel to instrumental my contributions will be towards need for eclectic fusion creativity in instrumental music.

Did you know...
I have performed in live concerts with artists including Ron Kenoly, Jesse Dickson, Helen Baylor, Anthony Wilkins, Lionel Peterson. Though not instrumental.

CDs you are listening to now:
Hiromi Uehara, Sonic Bloom.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
The State of jazz today for me is good.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
The preserve traditional jazz itself; But infuse the beauty of other known genres to make jazz more dynamic, appealing and interesting.

What is in the near future?
My album, Radiant is just a starter. In the near future we will be seeing Philip E. Clem live, in a new live video.

Project which is sure to storm the world of instrumental music. Watch out for it!

By Day:
Admin Officer,

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
IT professional or motivational speaker.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Phil E. Clem


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