Thursday, September 14, 2017

Simon Phillips - 1995 "Symbiosis"

I started writing material for Symbiosis early '93. In fact Force Majeure hadn't been released yet, but I needed to get my ideas down and focus more on developing my writing style.
I was living in an apartment in Studio City and had set up a little writing studio in the living room - no drum kit. I had a DrumKat set up but that is not quite the real thing. However, for composition it was fine, and I believe the first piece that made it onto the CD was "Sea Of Sighs". Ray Russell came over to stay in my new home and we worked together on some new material. Most of it was accomplished with the help of FedEx. I would send a DAT of some ideas - he would send back the same, and then I would arrange all the parts making changes and so on. The little writing studio was pushed to the limit, with various complaints from tenants underneath and around me. Time to look for somewhere else!
Mike Porcaro had a small studio but it was in need of a little sort out. Using my experience and knowledge of running and maintaining a professional studio I proposed that I design and wire his equipment, add some of my equipment, in return for the use of the studio.
Thus Mickey Shoals was born. A modest ADAT studio with a rather fine patch bay - small drum kit, keyboards, Vision sequencing - even a coffee maker! I recorded Toto's Tambu demos there and even one basic track was used on the album - not telling which!
A fellow from a new German Label, Lipstick, had been calling me every time I landed in Germany. Quite how he knew where I was amazed me, but he was sure consistent. I was on tour with Los Lobotomies in '94 and I decided to meet with the fellow in question to see what he had to offer. I drove overnight from Hamburg to Köln in a nice little BMW rather rapidly - I think I made it in less than 3 hours - and met with him over breakfast at the Central Bar. His name was Joachim Becker, and our deal was agreed over Rührei mit Speck, no messing around. At last I was signed to a small, but enthusiastic company.
Recording for Symbiosis started on June 3rd, 1995 at A & M studios in Hollywood and was to date the most successful CD earning a German Jazz Award for 10,000 domestic sales.

Nice release. Very unique. Reminded me of the old Bill Bruford and Alan Holdsworth Jazz Fusion. Simon Phillips style of drumming is very unique. I really can't remember a CD I purchased that was anything like this in many years (Bill Bruford 1979 One of Kind). Dixie Dregs also comes close. I'll be looking & listening for some of Simon's other releases.

Stumbled upon this after picking up Simons new album. Really nice blend of Saxophone and Guitar. Harkens back to 70's fusion albums by (Di Meola era) Return to Forever or 70's Allan Holdsworth. Definitely worth a listen.

Wow!!! Awesome Fusion from 1995 at the right price. I was hoping to get something more recent from him, but the budget didn't allow it. Practically stole this album on Marketplace and must say: MIND. BLOWN. Reall great stuff; balance of emphasis on Saxes and Guitar up front; progressive writing, great hooks, just not only fun but GOOD, GOOD JAZZ if you ask me

This CD is a great find for all musicians listening to contemporary jazz. The level of musicianship is very high. Simon Phillips is, of course, just fantastic. On this, his third solo effort, he turns off the sequencers and does it all with real musicians. The ensemble contains the core from Force Majeure - Anthony Jackson, Ray Russle and adds Mitch Forman and various percussionists. Several of the compositions seem to have more body than Simon's earlier work without losing any of the Simon signature fireworks. Absolute must for any drummer. I would have given it 5 stars but I would reserve that rating for aclassics like 'A Love Supreme" or 'Kind of Blue' and so forth

Track listing:

1. Symbiosis
2. You Restless Angel
3. Midair Decision
4. Biplane to Bermuda
5. Isis
6. Out of the Blue
7. Starfish Spaghetti
8. Indian Summer
9. Sea of Sighs


Simon Phillips - Drums;
Ray Russell - Guitar;
Mitchell Forman - Keyboards;
John Pena, Mike Porcaro, Jimmy Johnson - Bass;
Wendell Brooks - Horns;
Chris Trujillo, Sheila E. - Percussion



  2. Hi, I am desperately looking for his "Force Majeure" release from 1993:
    It appears to be out of print since several years, and it's impossible to find a copy at a reasonable price. Do you possibly have that one?