In its sixth vocal jazz issue, Maxjazz offers Phillip Manuel with his debut album for their label. Phillip performs a nice blend of originals and standards in his unique jazz style.
The New Orleans born singer comes from a straight ahead jazz background, having been featured with Nicholas Payton's band "The Time Machine" plus touring appearances with Terrence Blanchard, Alain Toussaint, Patti Labelle and Fats Domino. A rich Crescent City background has been a great asset to this talented vocalist. Phillip is in a class by himself. Very much, his own man, he seems to have no identifiable influence. His original attack is pure delight to fans of "no nonsense" mainstream jazz. Phillip uses his cutting voice like an instrument.
Speaking of instruments, there are some fine musicians on this CD. From the first beat, drummer Adonis Rose begins a spectacular and tasteful performance that carries through to the last minute. I found myself so stirred by the percussionist's style that I listened to the entire recording a second time just to hear his intricate accents.
This is an all star unit incorporating beautiful solos by Payton, Fletcher, Marsalis, Winston and the melodic guitar of Steve Masakowski. The album maintains my very high opinion of the Maxjazz people who sacrifice nothing to attain quality. Just give a listen to Phillip's treatment of "If I Were a Bell," "Just Squeeze Me" and "'Round Midnight"......This man can swing and scat. He's the man!