Flip Phillips

Flippin' the Blues, Vol. 2 1949-1951

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Flippin' the Blues, Vol. 2 1949-1951 Review

by arwulf arwulf

As if to close out the 1940s and inaugurate the '50s, tenor man Flip Phillips made a series of wonderful recordings for producer Norman Granz on the cusp of the two decades. Flippin' the Blues, Vol. 2 in Ocium's chronological survey of this period in Phillips' career opens with an exceptionally fine quartet date with Hank Jones, Ray Brown and the ever-restless Buddy Rich. As seems to be the case with more than a few of these Granz sessions, there are two possible dates given for this blowing session: December 9, 1949 or "circa March 1950." The range of styles and modes touched upon in this portion of the retrospective includes standards, ballads, Bunsen burner bop, blues and boogie-woogie. "Flippin' the Blues" contains something quite rare: several examples of Ray Brown singing over his bowed bass in the manner of Slam Stewart. The addition of trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, trombonist Bill Harris and guitarist Billy Bauer created the perfect septet for a feisty, bop-infused recording date on July 1, 1950. Norman Granz then paired Harris and Phillips in front of Dick Hyman, Gene Ramey and Jo Jones for a superb quintet date on March 8, 1951. This and the following session (which took place on August 9, 1951) demonstrate the brilliance of both horn players and the excitement generated by their collaborations. Note the sweet scat bop vocal on "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" by bassist Jimmy Woode, and strap yourself in for the somewhat maniacal "Long Island Boogie," with distinct references to "Hollerin' and Screamin'" by Fats Navarro and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. This particular album stands out as one of the very best and most satisfying of all Flip Phillips compilations.

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