There is truth to the adage "The Older The Fiddle, The sweeter the tune"
On his 80th birthday, Flip Phillips swung like one of the Flying Wallendas. He was accompanied by a host of jazz greats, all of whom clearly felt the electricity of this ultra hot Tenor Saxophonist who still generates macho muscle in his solos..
Flip Phillips vocalizes on a couple of original ditties very hipply I might add, and his repartee with the audience was both amusing and entertaining with bon mots like "I'd like to call up my father, Buddy DeFranco"
"Tenor Madness" opens with Buddy De Franco, Flip, and Scott playing in unison. Phillips' exchanges with Hamilton showcase Flip at his powerhouse best. Carl Fontana's Trombone is an eye opening excursion into pure magic.
"When You Know You're Getting Old" features a clever but bittersweet vocal by Phillips aided by Howard Alden's verbal asides as Flip sings. Alden's Guitar beautifully adds to the piece. Flip Phillips' mere presence adds the punch.
"The Claw" is bop from the top, the unison with Dick, Scott and Flip is in orbit..The exchanges with Hamilton and Flip will make you smile like a Possum in love. Swing is king on this tune. Shades of JATP are omnipresent as everybody is in foot stomping heaven. This is what you call "gettin' after it"....And they got it and "SWUNG" in the true sense of the word. This track will bring a dead man back to life.
Phillips sings on his composition "If I Had A Penny"...And the words "If I had a penny for how many times the words I love you were said, I'd be the richest man in the world" (Amen to that) Dick Hyman's Piano strides in with a toe tapping solo.
"Hashimoto's Blues" is up-up-up- tempo and everyone flies, Phillip's solo is as hot as a two dollar pistol and DeFranco is all over his horn. Everyone jumps on this tune-- like a hobo on a ham sandwich.
"Perdido" How fitting was this as the last number ? Let me count the ways..As Dan Morgenstern so aptly affirms in the notes, this is a tune made for quotes. Flip Phillips in true JATP fashion, is all over this song. His brief allusion to "Symphony Sid" brought back a flood of memories. And I finally heard what Phil Woods sounds like in his own bag, no Bird attached
The influence of Flip Phillips was omnipresent in this recording and my secret wish is that all of the cold sterile young Saxophonist's on the jazz scene today could hear these cats having fun and swinging like hell.Everyone on this record session was at their best and best in this instance translates into Flip's 80th birthday party at the The March Of Jazz (1995) and it was some bash. Flip Phillips was still rockin' and sockin'....This album is a treasure.