Simon Phillips

Out of the Blue

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This live set from Simon Phillips' 1998 European tour captures the drummer fronting an electric quintet and producing some of the most exciting music in his long career. Phillips, who has held stints drumming for everyone from the Who to Toto, shows not only his powerful chops and tasteful execution, but also his commanding leadership abilities as he drives this tight group through its paces. From behind his massive drum set, Phillips succeeds in offering his own take on modern electric jazz with a very creative rhythmic base.

Images of Tony Williams' Lifetime, another drummer-led band, come through on epic tracks like the frantic title track and the aptly titled burner "Another Lifetime." Other tracks, like the opening "Kumi Na Moja" and "Jungle Eyes" offer a distinct world music feel that Phillips produces in this live setting by inventively using a variety of sounds and grooves on his colossal kit. The final blowout number "Midair Decision" is a jaw-dropping energetic display that brings the crowd to a frenzy and caps off a first-rate set that shows just what this world-class stick slinger can really do.

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