Vantage Point
CD 2000
Disc 1
01. Vantage Point
02. New Blooded
03. Bewilderement
04. Miles Away
05. Double Take
06. Dreamscape
07. Spirits of Trane
release notes
Recorded at Coy Sound by Ed Stasium on September 3rd, 1999
Spirits Of Trane recorded live at Caf Cordiale, Sherman Oaks on September 1st, 1999
Mixed and Mastered by Simon Phillips

Walt Fowler - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Brandon Fields - Tenor & Soprano
Dave Carpenter - Acoustic Bass
Jeff Babko - Piano
Simon Phillips - Drums

Release Notes
I "played out" with the Jazz/Rock Fusion style I had been writing and really needed a change. I had been listening to a lot of old be-bop recordings, namely anything recorded by Rudy Van Gelder. I loved the sound - and the playing of course - and I wanted to experiment with this style which not a lot of people had heard me play. I approached Jeff Babko about a collaboration and we started writing some music. Before long we had a set list together and we played a local club gig. The music worked but the band wasn't quite right. However, with the help of Brandon Fields and Walt Fowler taking up horn duties our next gig was wonderful. It was then when I approached Lipstick about recording an acoustic jazz CD for their Jazzline label. Recorded entirely at my house with an acoustic piano in one day and no overdubs. It was sheer bliss. However I took my time mixing as I had never mixed anything like this before. It took a couple of approaches before I nailed it - and that was quite a learning curve.

I am not sure how this CD was received by my fans and I guess looking at the numbers of people in the audience during the Vantage Point tour in 2001 maybe some were not quite so enthusiastic about my departure from a large double bass kit. However I found it to be a terrific learning experience and I know that the audiences we played for seemed to love every minute.
No live albums in the pipeline for this one but I am sure another studio album is on the cards.
Drummer Simon Phillips and pianist Jeff Babko had clear inspiration for Vantage Point. The prototypical mid-1960s blowing session and the line between Miles Davis's 1965-68 band and the rise of Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter's very Miles-ish V.S.O.P. drive the duo and the rest of their quintet here. It drives them heartily, too. Phillips has the pounce of an Elvin Jones and the finesse of Tony Williams. Their Los Angeles band has some killer horns, to boot. Saxist Brandon Fields blows Shorter-esque lines and high-flying solos, while trumpeter Walt Fowler dishes out hot bursts and treats these brassed-up melodies as occasions for full-bore attack. He even comes close to Kenny Wheeler's utterly unique bigness on "New Blooded," which has the band playing lyrically while Phillips readies for all-out flight. Vantage Point has precisely the offhand quality that Phillips, a studio and session drummer well versed in the in-studio extremities of the rock world, describes seeking in the liner notes. This is a brisk session with lots of crashing in and through tunes, one that catches a fine hard-bop unit in full flight. The closing look at Hubbard's "Spirits of Trane" is a smashing good 15 minutes, all wild and woolly.

--Andrew Bartlett
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