Brooklyn-born Joseph Edward Filipelli developed his chops during the 1940s by working with Frankie Newton, Benny Goodman, Wingy Manone and Red Norvo. He became famous as a member of Woody Herman's Herd and as a crowd-pleasing soloist with Jazz at the Philharmonic. The first volume in Ocium's chronological tribute to Flip Phillips, Crazy 'Bout Flip, maps this artist's adventures as a versatile participant in various sessions produced by Norman Granz at the tail end of the decade. The album opens with four titles believed to have been recorded during the autumn of 1947 (some say January 1949), with trumpeter Howard McGhee and a smart rhythm section in Hank Jones, Ray Brown and J.C. Heard. In addition to a tidy pair of bop originals by McGhee and a handsome rendering of "My Old Flame," this date resulted in a rock-solid Phillips original bearing the unforgettable title "Znarg Blues." Phillips' next session, dating from February 1949, finds him in the company of four trombonists (including Kai Winding) and alto saxophonist Sonny Criss. The tenor's suave handling of Hoagy Carmichael's "Lazy River" is a marvel to behold. On either August 28 or September 24, 1949 Phillips cut a pair of uplifting and energetic sides as member of a septet that included trumpeter Billy Butterfield, trombonist Bennie Green, alto saxophonist Pete Mondello and drummer Max Roach. A marvelous quartet session dated December 5, 1949 used three themes of Phillips' own devising; the Lester Young influence is wonderfully present on "Vortex" while "But Beautiful" is yet another example of Phillips' magically intoxicating abilities as an early modern balladeer. The producers of this reissue series rounded off volume one with a 16-minute JATP jam on Juan Tizol's "Perdido," recorded live at Carnegie Hall on September 27, 1947 with Howard McGhee, Bill Harris, Illinois Jacquet, Hank Jones, Ray Brown and Jo Jones. This delightfully rowdy performance, with two tenors blazing in tandem behind the trombone solo, compares nicely with the full-tilt blowout version of "Perdido" included on the 1974 Atlantic album Mingus at Carnegie Hall.
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