Flip Phillips

Live at the Beowulf: Arbors Historical Series, Vol. 5

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After a flurry of touring in the '40s and '50s, Flip Phillips relocated to Florida for the last several decades of his life, primarily content to play clubs such as Beowulf in Lighthouse Point and the occasional jazz party. Accompanied by pianist Tom Howard, bassist John Mason, and drummer Don MacLean, Phillips is hardly the honking Jazz at the Philharmonic stereotype as detractors automatically labeled him. Instead, he is the consummate balladeer, delivering warm tenor sax solos in a pair of Gershwin favorites. He switches to bass clarinet for an unusually dark interpretation of "Chloe" (which is somewhat marred by Howard's corny use of an electric keyboard) and a jaunty take of the gospel favorite "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," in which he also doubles on tenor sax. Issued by the tiny Florida-based Grendel, this well-recorded session is worth acquiring, though it won't be very easy to locate.

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