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Flip Phillips

A still spry Flip Phillips hasn't stopped recording or performing despite approaching his '80s. He's a consumate player, who's most famous for holding his own in freewheeling jam sessions, but is also a wonderful ballad and standards interpreter, and good blues and bop artist. He's no innovator, but one of the reliable foot soldiers plugging away in the jazz infantry. Phillips played in New York with various groups before joining Frankie Newton in 1940. He played clarinet while in this group, before switching to tenor. Phillips joined Benny Goodman in 1942, then worked with Wingy Manone and Red Norvo in 1943. From 1944 to 1946, Phillips played with Woody Herman, before beginning the association that made him an international favorite. He started touring with Jazz At The Philharmonic in 1946, and over the next 10 years engaged in numerous honking, screaming and emphatic jam sessions and cutting contests with fellow stars from Coleman Hawkins to Charlie Parker to Lester Young and all comers in between. Phillips toured Europe with Benny Goodman in 1959, then settled in Florida, becoming a part-time player and full-time apartment building manager. He did some work with Bill Harris and Herman, and headed bands when he felt like playing. A 1970 appearance at the Colorado Jazz Party, followed by a 1972 Newport Jazz Festival concert date, rekindled his interest, and Phillips returned to music exclusively in 1975. He recorded for Signature in the mid-'40s with various sidemen from Herman's orchestra. Phillips did several albums for Verve and Clef in the late '40s and early '50s, then sessions with Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown, and an album with Buddy Rich. During the '60s he added bass clarinet and alto sax to his arsenal, while recording quartet sessions for Sue and Onyx. Phillips reunited with Herman's orchestra for a 1978 date, and headed quartets and quintets for sessions on Phillips, Progressive, PHM, Concord and MPS through the '70s and into the '80s. He toured Europe again in 1982.
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