Robin Phillips is forging a name for himself on the London and UK jazz scenes. He is one of few singer/pianists to concentrate equally on both disciplines and using them together to create a unity only possible when done by a single person. His latest studio album, ‘Sing. Play.. for Pleasure’, demonstrates this approach, as he becomes the first performer to record a vocalese album, where he plays as well as sings the vocalese tunes.
The album, to be launched at the revered Pizza Express jazz club in Soho, London on 2nd Feb 2014, features Tim Thornton (Rising Star, British Jazz Awards 2013) on bass and Chris Draper on drums, both regular performers at the Ronnie Scott’s jazz club’s Late Late Shows. It also features an impressive collection of guest artists including award-winning vocalist Ian Shaw, vocalese specialist and award-winning vocalist Anita Wardell (Best Vocalist, British Jazz Awards 2013), Brandon Allen (tenor sax), Steve Fishwick (trumpet), Sam Mayne (alto sax), and Albert Garza (tenor sax).
The Sing. Play. album project is inspired by the work of one of the originators of the artform, 1950s/60s singer King Pleasure, who drew Robin to the artform with his clever lyrics and smooth vocal delivery.
“I was looking into the various vocalese artists as part of my development as a singer and was blown away by the beauty of his voice and the intelligence and humour of his work. It was around the same time as I was trying to decide the theme for my next studio album. Realising that Pleasure was being forgotten about in the genre, and after a few people suggested combining the voice and hands for a unique project, I was sold, but it meant a lot of work ahead!”..
The album also features the work of vocalese legends Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, and Annie Ross.
Robin’s previous studio album ‘Old Street, New Groove’ (2010) gave a collection of jazz standards funky re-harmonisations, and he is also a proponent of researching and bringing back into use the classic ‘verses’ to the many jazz standards that originated in stage shows. He performs over 200 times a year in London, the UK and in Europe and current performances include a collection of tunes from all of these projects.