Saxophonist Phil Denny has already released four albums in a short time: Crossover (2012), The Messenger (2013), Upswing (2015) and this year Align. Performances on many festivals will not rest him on his laurels. With his 2nd annual Armory Smooth Jazz Fête he is among the exclusive circle of promoters.

His fourth album Align was written by Phil in parts with the support of participating musicians. Phil performs on this album tenor, alto and soprano sax, EWI. Further joining musicians are Matt Godina (keys, guitar, programming), Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Mel Brown (bass), Eric Valentine (drums), David P. Stevens (guitar), Lew Laing (keys, bass, programming), Adam Hawley (various instruments), Big Mike Hart (guitar, acoustic guitar), programming), Andrew Freeman (rhythm guitar), Buddy Bangs (keys, programming), Joe Archie (keys, guitar, synth bass, programming, strings) and Stacey Lamont Sydnor (percussion).

First track of the album is Switch Up which already climbs the charts as a single release. The forceful rhythmically-charged song encapsulates Phil Denny as a prolific artist quickly appearing on your screen. Feel Alright featuring David P. Stevens is spreading good mood going with confidence through the roof.

The mid-tempo Got It Like That offers a heavy dose of saxy groove. Tryst aptly creates a romantic message for your special lover. Brio Bounce is bursting with zest for life and if I did not know better, the song could easily go through as disco stomp. The soprano sax is often associated with lovely melodies. Phil makes no difference to this instrument. On So Lux he offers the tenor saxophone to the soprano sax as second part.

Ride With Me plays with the double meaning of the idiom. Special feature of this piece is the use of strings as their own instrumental voice. Perhaps it serves the listener to the subsequent piece Align, which has a pronounced orchestral arrangement. The soprano sax is particularly dominant, as it is to some extent overdubbed with the same instrument.

On Honey Step and Absence of Filters Denny focuses on the strength of his expressive power and playing technique. If he leaves the elegiac away as with Kinda Wanna, also the play joke comes to light.

Still a new artist for some listeners, Phil Denny has built with his sparkling and expressive album Align the foundation of a rising star.







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Album Information

Title: Align
Artist: Phil Denny
Year: 2018
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Off-Sheet Music

1. Switch Up (4:25)
2. Feel Alright (feat. David P. Stevens) (3:51)
3. Got It Like That (4:38)
4. Tryst [4:19)
5. Brio Bounce (3:45)
6. SoLux (feat. Adam Hawley) (4:05)
7. Ride With Me (3:54)
8. Align (4:38)
9. Honey Step (4:15)
10. Absence of Filters (6:03)
11. Kinda Wanna (4:38)

Further reviews:

The Messenger