Born: February 14, 1959 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
phillip greenlief (b. 1959, los angeles) - (shorter bio and index of compositions listed below)
The Bay Area's do-it-yourself ethos has produced a bevy of dazzlingly creative musicians, but few have put the philosophy to work as effectively as Phillip Greenlief. – Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle
Acclaimed saxophonist and composer Phillip Greenlief is the founder of Evander Music; an independent record label presenting original composition, improvised music and jazz. Since 1986, his recordings and performances have received critical acclaim in Down Beat, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Cadence, Modern Saxophone, InfraTunes (France), Altrisuoni (Italy), The Wire (London), Colossus (Finland), St. Petersburg Times (Russia), Cuademos de Jazz (Spain), New Jazz Improv (Portugal), Los Angeles Times, etc. His duo recordings of improvised music with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola received 5 stars in the Music Hound Jazz Essential Album Guide. Recordings with the Lost Trio and his compositions on Russian Notebooks (w/PG & Covered Pages) were listed on the Critics' Top 10 Recording List of 2000 & 2001 (SF Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, East Bay Express, and Downtown Music Guide (NYC). He is a recipient of the San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award and was nominated for a 2013 composer residency at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.
From standpoints of imagination, rhythm and technique (including circular breathing), Bay Arean Phillip Greenlief is one of the most astonishing saxists I've ever seen/heard. - Greg Burke, Metal Jazz
Greenlief began playing guitar and trumpet in elementary school and explored various instruments before discovering the saxophone in the mid-1970's. His ever-evolving relationship with the instrument continues to unfold with an expansive sound vocabulary, extreme dynamic range, a deep regard for melody and form, and a rollicking humor and wit that is not dissimilar to the Native American Coyote tales. As a composer, he has created nearly 300 works for practically every conceivable ensemble, including numerous pieces for solo saxophone, saxophone and string quartets, jazz ensembles, chamber groups, electro-acoustic improvisers, film projects, live theater, works for large ensemble and orchestra with choir. He is composer in residence with Rough and Tumble and teaches music at San Francisco Waldorf High School, and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. As an organizer, he has produced concerts for local musicians and internationally touring artists under the auspices of Evander Music Presents since 1997 and is currently serving as curator at Berkeley Arts.
Phillip Greenlief is a reedman versatile enough to achieve anything except peace in Palestine - LA WEEKLY
In addition to solo performance, Greenlief is currently active in duo with saxophonist David Boyce; guitar genius Fred Frith; the electro-acoustic trio shudder with Kyle Bruckmann & Lance Grabmiller; FPR with saxophonists Frank Gratkowski and Jon Raskin; Orchestra Nostalgico (formerly The Clubfoot Orchestra), specializing in the music of classic film composers from Nino Rota to Bernard Herman; the 2 + 2 Project with Jon Raskin and an ever-revolving pair of like instruments; in trio with improvisers Angelica Sanchez & Sam Ospovat; the rock/thrash/metal extravaganza PG13, with John Shiurba and Thomas Scandura; the electric funk trio DIRTIER!, with Paul Olguin and John Hanes; and OrcheSperry, a large ensemble dedicated to performing works by PG and other local SF Bay Area composers. Greenlief is a mainstay in the bay area improvised music scene, working frequently with a host of local and international ad hoc ensembles. Along with bassist Dan Seamans and drummer Tom Hassett he is a member of The Lost Trio, now celebrating 19 years of redefining the term jazz standard.
...the under-rated West Coast Saxophonist - Art Lange, Epulse! Magazine
Greenlief has performed internationally in a variety of settings since 1982. In addition to club dates and concert tours across North America and Europe, he has performed at the 1st Annual John Coltrane Festival in Los Angeles, Seattle Improvised Music Festival; North Sea Festival in Den Hague; Freiburg Zelt Muzik Festival in Germany; Big Sur Sound Shift; Olympia Experimental Music Festival; Du Maurier Jazz Festival; Werkstatt fur Improvisierte Musik in Zurich; the Ulrichsburg Festival and the Konfrontation Festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria; the Isole Che Parlano Festival in Sardinia and the 2003 Biennale in Venice Italy; and the International Festival of Arts in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1998 he lived in St. Petersburg (Russia) where in addition to playing solo he performed and recorded with several jazz groups, singer-songwriter Yelena Kolokolnikova, and the Russian folk ensemble Dubinushka.
A local bay area treasure... - Aquarius Music, SF
Phillip Greenlief has performed or recorded with Bruce Ackley, Ashley Adams Trio, Steve Adams, Susan Alcorn, Lee Alexander, Liz Allbee, Scott Amendola, Ara Anderson, Paolo Angeli, Jen Baker, Barnacled, Bonnie Barnett, Claire Elizabeth Barratt, Max Bennett, Will Bernard, Emily Bezar, Tom Bickley, Big Lou's Polka Casserole, John Bischoff, Joe Bjornson, Myles Boisen, Anthony Braxton Creative Music Orchestra, Kenny Brooks, Chris Brown, Sheldon Brown, Kyle Bruckmann, Jerome Breyerton, Hermann Buhler, Dennis Burke, Gust Burns, bush assassin, Cactus Truck, JP Carter, Eugene Chadbourne, Bill Clarke, Alex Cline, Nels Cline, Clubfoot Orchestra, George Coates Theater Works, Keller Coker, India Cooke, Keith Compton, George Cremaschi, Crushing Spiral Ensemble, Francesco Cusa, Beth Custer, Matt Davignon, Richard Davis, Les DeMerle, Stuart Dempster, Robert Dick, Dieb13, Frank Difficult, Jorrit Dijkstra, Tom Djll, Sasha Dobson, Smith Dobson III, Michel Doneda, Bill Douglass, Mark Dresser, Trevor Dunn, Tim DuRoche, Dominic DuVal, Harris Eisenstadt's Ahimsa Orchestra, Lisle Ellis, Alessandra Eramo, Dina Emerson, Marco Eneidi's American Jungle Orchestra, Korhan Erel, Katie Faulkner, James Fei, Ken Filiano, Karen Fox, Dirk Freymuth, Erik Friedlander, Fred Frith, Wolfgang Fuchs, Philip Gelb, Hannes Giger, Ben Goldberg, Vinny Golia, Lance Grabmiller, Georg Graeve, Frank Gratkowski, Michael Griener, Nora Hajos, Mary Halvorson, Paul Hartsaw, Tootie Heath, Ron Heglin, Mark Helias, Shoko Hikage, Tyrone Hill's Deep Space Posse (featuring Marshall Allen), Devin Ray Hoff, Motoko Honda, Nathan Hubbard, Carl Ludwig Hubsch, Charlie Hunter, Matt Ingalls, Aurora Josephson, Henry Kaiser, Achim Kaufmann, Elliot Humberto Kavee, Kaleidoscopic Sextet, David Kendall, Carla Kihlstedt, Kyoko Kitamura, Steve Kirk Pop, Adam Lane, Joelle Leandre, Adam Levy, Steuart Liebig, Steve Lockwood Ensemble, The Lost Trio, Maya Magdas, Toshi Makahara, Tony Malaby, Bob Marsh, Eddie Marshall, Andrea Martignoni, Miya Masaoka, Thollem McDonas, Dave McNab, Sean Meehan, Ava Mendoza, Lisa Mezzacappa, Mills College Contemporary Performance Ensemble, Roberto Miranda, Billy Mintz, Hafez Modirzadeh, Meredith Monk, Eddie Moore, Gregg Moore, Michael Moore, Tony Moreno, Joe Morris, Manuel Mota, Jesse Yusef Murphy, Simon Nabotov, Tatsuya Nakitani, Maggie Nichols, Kanoko Nishi, Oakland Active Orchestra, Oakland Bandemonium, Pauline Oliveros' Sounding the Margins Orchestra, OrcheSperry, Orchestra Nostalgico, Matthew Ostrowski, Tom Osuna, William Parker, Dan Peck, Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert, Tim Perkis, Barre Phillips, Noah Phillips, Ricardo Pittau, Dan Plonsey, Alexander Popov, Garth Powell, Bhob Rainey, Tom Rainey, Sly Randolf, Jon Raskin, Dana Reason, Ted Reichman, Gino Robair, Donald Robinson, Ernesto Rodriguez, Scott Rosenberg, Ken Rosser, David Rothbaum, Rough & Tumble, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Angelica Sanchez, Richard Saunders, Ignaz Schick, Sue Schlotte, Sara Schoenbeck, John Schott, Monica Scott, Jonathan Segal, sfSound Group, Aram Shelton, John Shiurba, Damon Short, Todd Sickafoose, Fausto Sirakowski, Waddada Leo Smith, Ches Smith, Damon Smith, Jimmy Smith, Glenn Spearman, Spirit, Karen Stackpole, Moe! Staiano, GE Stinson, Carl Stone, Joe Strummer, Tom Swafford, Agnes Szelag, Horace Tapscott, Natsuki Tamura, Tango #9, Sonship Theus, They Might Be Giants, Iluyemi Thomas, Suzanne Thorpe, Lauren Tietz, Tiger Lillies, Astrid Thiersch, Tri-Axium West Orchestra (performing music of Anthony Braxton), Trio Putanesca, Bertram Turetsky, Michael Vatcher, Biggi Vinkeloe, Nadezhda Voskaboynik, Michael Vlatkovich, Andrew Voigt, Jane Wang, Christian Weber, Marty Wehner, Ellen Weller, Rich West, Tom White, Andreas Willers, Erling Wold, Kenny Wollesen, Theresa Wong, Nate Wooley, Katrina Wreede, Jack Wright, Senator Eugene Wright, William Wynant, and Ottomo Yoshihide.
PRESSPRAISE: Saxophonist Phillip Greenlief has long been one of the most aggressively active but subtle-of-profile musicians in the Bay Area's endlessly burgeoning jazz scene. His literate, deconstructionist playing has graced the music of everyone from Anthony Braxton to They Might Be Giants, and his own projects have ranged from theater and dance scores to solo saxophone tours of Russia. For the last few years Greenlief and his Evander Music label have been at the forefront of defining a new generation of jazz musicians, artists who have truly and fully absorbed the full breadth of the last few decades of experimental and popular genres and are using all of that knowledge to invent the future of the music.
-SAM MICKENS, Portland Messenger
SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY: Trio Putanesca: Who Ordered the Fish? – w/PG, tenor saxophone; Adam Levy, guitar & Dan Seamans, bass – Evander Music 001
collect my thoughts - duo w/drummer Scott Amendola - Nine Winds Records (NWCD 0185)
Phillip Greenlief Trevor Dunn - duo with bassist Trevor Dunn – Em 002
Ashley Adams Trio: Flowers for Mrs. Dalloway - w/Adams & Michel Dumonceau – Em 003
Trio Putanesca: Live at Yoshi’s - Em 005
Remembrance of Songs Past – Lost Trio, w/Dan Seamans, bass; Tom Hassett, drums - Em 006
Russian Notebooks – PG & Covered Pages – w/ Nels Cline, Vinny Golia, & GE Stinson – Em 007
American Jungle Orchestra – w/ Marco Eneidi, Leo Smith, B. Turetsky, etc. – Botticelli 1012/13
Do-Bop Sound at Jazz Philharmonic Hall – w/saxophonist Alexander Popov – JFC Jazz (Russia)
Live at Avalon & The Graves – w/Lost Trio, with special guest, Adam Levy - Em 014
cries or whispers for ingmar bergman - phillip greenlief solo - Artship Recordings #034
Two Forms of Multitudes - MOE!KESTRA! - DKM, pax, Edgetone co-release
stalking andrei - phillip greenlief solo - Em 024
The Lost Trio - Boxcar Samovar, w/ Phillip Greenlief, Dan Seamans & Tom Hassett - Em 016
Voices in the Wilderness: Dissenting Soundscapes and Songs of G.W.'s America - Pax Recordings
Isole che Parlano – 2-disc set compilation from 2003 Isole che Parlano Festival - Palao, Sardegna
Harris Eisenstadt - Ahimsa Orchestra - Nine Winds - NWCD 0237
Music + One - An Improvisation Compendium - Rastascan Records BRD 054
Seared Circuit Incident - phillip greenlief solo - Em 033
That Overt Desire of Object - duo w/bassist Joelle Leandre - Relative Pitch Records
Plays Solid Gold Hits! - The Lost Trio - Em 045
Paul Hartsaw: Socio-Cybernetic Music Machine - Melagoistra Music
lines combined - phillip greenlief solo - Em 056
The Lost Trio - Mysterious Toboggan - Em 54
Thin Air Orchestra: Live - with Tony Passarell, Vinny Golia, Tom Djll, Polly Moller, Randy McKean, Ross Hammond, etc.
Scott Pinkmountain and the Golden Bolts of Tone - The Full Sun
Sam Ospovat - PIKI
UPCOMING RELEASES - 2013:
FPR - Saxophone Trio with Frank Gratkowsi & Jon Raskin - Relative Pitch Records
The Lost Trio - Know Monk - Evander Music
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Study with Acclaimed Saxophonist Phillip Greenlief Lessons in woodwind performance, improvisation (any instrument), composition, theory/harmony are available at my studio or on at your home/studio. Sliding scale fee of $40 - $75 rate. I have 29 years experience as a professional musician, with over 25 internationally acclaimed recordings to date on CD. I have 19 years experience teaching in a variety of settings (one-on-one; workshops; elementary, secondary, university, and beyond) and have a warm and encouraging attitude with all of my students. I am also available to lead workshops or classes in all the subjects mentioned above. Feel free to email me to request a resume or the address of my website with complete bio, etc