Phillips - Yaktown Nights
Players: Damani Phillips ~ Saxophones, Mike Jelick
~ Piano, Takashi Iio ~ Acoustic & Electric Bass
and Adam James ~ Drums.
enough the Pontiac, Michigan native pours out his soul
with a strong presence of a club jazz set. The realness of this
setting is evident with “Sunset’s Last Embrace” the
opening piece on “Yaktown Nights”. Damani appears
comfortable smoking the cold steel with depth and conviction.
Bounce falls into the second position
with the near perfect chemistry with a hip groove by Damani and the
band; he soulfully strikes each note the surreal ness of a
seasoned saxophonist. The expressive interplay by his budding sideman
pours on a proper dose of satisfying jazz.
Mike Jellick introduces an inspiring classic by Antonio
Carols Jobim’s called “Corcovado”. Damani
emulates but doesn’t hesitate, within a moments notice he approaches
the classic by soloing in unpredictable matter therefore, giving us a
more then adequate dose with a stellar performance as a soloist. Jellick’s
piano solos are persuasive by nature as he probes the keys
eloquently as if he’s visited this composition more than once.
a self-penned composition by Phillips. He swings with authority
from the onset; the entire band offers superb musicianship
supporting Damani’s tune with a perfect balance of substance
and energy. Phillips has obviously spent an insurmountable
amount of time in the woodshed honing his skills as a reeds man.
with yet another enriching self-penned piece entitled “Spanish
Kiss”. Damani’s solos are vigorously ambitious, full of
promise with a purpose. Damani’s bandmates compliments his
arrangement assuring Phillips that his composition is in good
Nights” authored by Phillips is his depiction of a
contemporary jazz without borrowing from the hype of smoothness. The
difference here is that Phillips is blowing, I mean
seriously playing with precise execution taking the groove to the next
the classic Pavane, renaming it Pavane For 2G3. What I
dig most about Damani’s arrangements is he appears too have
fun with note, chord and phrase. Pavane For 2G3, has an
irresistible groove with a live feel too it, delivering warm and
passionate music (this is an ingredient that’s sorely missed in most
next two tracks are alternate takes of Spanish Kiss and Pavane
For 2G3, Damani and the crew continues etch within the
fabric of jazz from yesteryear with shades of contemporary jazz
flavorings of today. If you’re looking for music that ignores
the trendy tendencies of smoothjazz, then you’ll find Yaktown
Nights an appetizing musical journey.