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Flip Phillips: Ever Green

Flip Phillips

Whether Flip Phillips invented the expression or picked it up somewhere is hard to say, but in 1994 , commenting on his age, he said, “You learn not to buy any green bananas.” That pessimistic prognosis has proved unjustified. Phillips just passed his th birthday with all colors flying, and a new album, swing is the thing, to show for one of the most indefatigable spirits in jazz.

Swing Is the Thing features two guest tenor players, Joe Lovano and James Carter, and a dream rhythm section of guitarist Howard Alden, pianist Benny Green, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Kenny Washington. It does indeed swing, but more to the point, it contains some of Phillips’ gorgeous balladry, the big-shouldered big-toned kind of melodic sweep that is uniquely his.

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