Robin Phillips (UK jazz singer and pianist)
Emerging as one of the UK’s leading jazz singer pianists, Robin Phillips is a singer / pianist absolutely committed to both disciplines, both as independent art-forms but also bringing them together to form a unique partnership between voice and hands. He has a thirst for learning and discovering which has lead him to become a knowledgeable and well-versed jazz musician whose passionate performances are as informative as they are engaging and entertaining.
Robin’s latest album will be released in 2024 and is an originals project, featuring original songs written during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and adding electric guitar and cello to his existing vocal piano trio; the album also features member of the Pinstripe Suit band, a string quartet, and gospel choir. The album was inspired by Robin’s ‘Back To The Source’ jazz/blues documentary road trip where he travelled from Chicago to New Orleans on a Harley, just before the pandemic hit.
Interview with Robin about the first single from the new album, Ode To NOLA, which is released on 20th February 2024.
Three minute interview with Robin about the new album:
In ensemble format, his energetic piano trio harks back to a golden age of jazz, but their arrangements have a distinctly modern edge; committed to the past but drawing on modern influences to create a fresh approach to their jazz repertoire.
Robin’s Chet Baker programme is currently popular with UK jazz clubs, click here for more information, and Robin is currently planning another road-trip documentary focussing on the music and life of Chet Baker.
In November 2019, Robin launched his ‘Re-Versed’ album at the Pizza Express Dean Street Jazz Club, in London’s Soho, featuring world-class jazz musicians and taking on the concept of the ‘lost verses’, the introductory sections of the classic jazz standards that have been lost over time. The album features Robin alongside Brandon Allen (tenor sax), Sammy Mayne (alto sax), Jihad Darwish (bass), and Seb De Krom (drums).
The live launch performance at Pizza Express Jazz Club Dean Street, London, featured Matt Skelton (drums), Alex Garnett (sax), and Rob Rickenberg (bass).
A Foggy Day with the lost sectional verse:
Billie’s Bounce with vocalese (clips from Pizza Express Jazz Club launch and Cambridge Jazz Festival performance)
On Green Dolphin Street with lost sectional verse:
Here is the second official music video from the ‘Re-Versed’ album, Time After Time by Jule Style and Sammy Cahn, featuring footage from Robin’s 2019 road trip of research and discovery from Chicago to New Orleans, on a Harley Davidson Street Glide motorbike.
‘Back To The Source’ jazz/blues USA motorcycle road trip documentary
English jazz musician Robin Phillips retraces the path of jazz and blues in America, from Chicago to New Orleans, in a once-in-a-lifetime road trip on a Harley Davidson motorbike, to better understand the art form he has dedicated his life to.
This music documentary includes road trip footage, performances, and pieces to camera, as well as interviews with John May (BBs Blues and Soups in St Louis), Steve Melton (Chief Engineer 1970s, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio), Bubba O’Keefe (Visit Clarksdale), Dexter Allen (Jackson blues musician), David Hood (bass player, The Swampers, Muscle Shoals) and James Martin (New Orleans jazz musician).
The film received its world premiere at the Clarksdale Film Festival in Jan 2020 and its UK preview premiere at the Doc’n Roll Film Festival in London in Nov 2020.
During the filming Robin went to famed Muscle Shoals Sound recording studio and recorded with the Dexter Allen Band form Jackson, Mississippi, here’s a video from that session:
‘Re-Versed’ Album Reviews:
Album Of The Week – Click here to read jazz website Jazz Views’ review of ‘Re-Versed’
“Robin has a great delivery…” “…stuffed to the brim with original arrangements…” “…rapid-fire, well-honed and textured…” “…lovely interplay…” “…quite delicious…” “…delivered with the Phillips touch…” “It is not like other cover albums…” ‘…stroke of genius…” “A great album and hugely worth listening to…”
Kind Of Jazz
**** Click here to read jazz website Kind Of Jazz’s ‘4* Excellent’ review of ‘Re-Versed’
“His funky playing is a revelation here…” “Fresh feel…” ‘..terriffic swinging version…” “Conclusive proof that it’s still possible to find something new in the standards”
All About Jazz
**** Click here to read jazz website All About Jazz’s 4* review of ‘Re-Versed’
“Hugely enjoyable…” “…brings a freshness to the arrangements…”
The Jazz Hour
Album Of The Month, January 2020 – The Jazz Hour, Longside Radio
Bebop Spoken Here
Click here to read jazz website Bebop Spoken Here’s review of ‘Re-Versed’
“Worth checking out…” “Phillips is his own man… a rated one… more than just that of a contemporary crooner…”
Debbie Burke, Jazz Author
Click here to read author Debbie Burke’s review of ‘Re-Versed’.
“…once again delivers upbeat, fresh music…” “…gives fans more to love..” “His voice has its own unique timbre…” “…proof positive of a master of phrasing…”
Here is the first official music video from the ‘Re-Versed’ album, for the song As Time Goes By, by Herman Hupfeld:
Listen to the feature interview Robin did with David Lewis on his ‘Straight Ahead’ show on Solar Radio in September 2020. Four of the Re:Versed album tracks were played, along with tracks Robin chose from artists that have influenced him. Robin features throughout but the two interview segments are at 0:35:00 and 1:10:00. Alternatively you can listen to the interview segments via the Soundcloud player i the top right hand corner of this page.
Listen to an extended interview Robin did in December 2019 with Darren Harper of Jazz Matters about the new Re-Versed album:
Below is an extended interview Robin did with The Jazz Podcast, first broadcast in February 2020:
In 2014 Robin turned heads with his King Pleasure-inspired vocalese album with guests including Ian Shaw and Anita Wardell. On the album Robin played as well as sang the collection of vocalese solos and he included two new vocalese lyrics to improvised creations by Jon Hendricks and Chet Baker.
Inspired by singer / instrumentalists such as Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, Harry Connick Jr, and Bob Dorough, but also jazz vocalists such as Mark Murphy, King Pleasure, Mel Torme and Jon Hendricks, his current passion is unearthing the lost sectional verse introductions to many of the classic jazz standards. He is currently working on a new album comprised of this material.
He has performed at venues including Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Dean Street and The Pheasantry venues, the 100 Club, the 606 Club, all three Boisdale jazz clubs, the Hippodrome and a range of regional jazz clubs.
– Robin Phillips Trio / Quartet (generic)
– Robin Phillips Sings & Plays: Verses & Vocalese
– Robin Phillips Sings & Plays: Chet Baker
“One of the capital’s leading jazz singer / pianists” The Musician magazine 2014
“Well Done, Well Sung!.. You show great taste and discretion in this entire compilation…” Jon Hendricks (jazz singing legend), 2014
“Excellent singer/pianist..Robin’s arrangements and interpretation were fresh and very interesting… an excellent voice, big range, lots of depth, and a wonderful feel for the story of a song. His piano playing is first class.” Fleece Jazz review, 2015
“This trio are pure class. An informative, entertaining evening of vocal standards all played in a style created by three sophisticated musicians who are perfectly in tune with each other. For all of the second set the atmosphere was quite magical!” Annie’s Jazz review, 2015
“A voyage of discovery through an exemplary execution of jazz standards… he brings an effortless deftness to each of the songs chosen, sounding at times just like Chet Baker or Mose Allison…” LondonJazz album review 2014
“The hardworkin’est, boppin’est band around..piano-led jazz with an edge.. a powerful [band] with talent to spare.” Cambridge Modern Jazz, 2013
“..that rare individual – the young vocalist who harks back to a golden age of vocalists… [but] whilst the roots of his art are there and obvious to hear, he tries to bring something new to the genre…a refreshing glimpse of one of our better young vocalists” Barry Clare, Just Jazz magazine, 2011
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