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Live At the Beowulf

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Album Review

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.


Born: 26 February 1915 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Flip Phillips, who angered some critics early on because he gained riotous applause for his exciting solos during Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, for over 50 years was an excellent tenor saxophonist equally gifted on stomps, ballads, and standards. He played clarinet regularly in a Brooklyn restaurant during 1934-1939, was in Frankie Newton's group (1940-1941), and spent time in the bands of Benny Goodman, Wingy Manone, and Red Norvo. However, it was in 1944 that he had his breakthrough. As a...
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Live At the Beowulf, Flip Phillips
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