Born: December 7, 1956 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Saxophonist and composer Phil Scarff performs Indian classical music and jazz, and leads the acclaimed world-jazz ensemble, Natraj. Appearances include India's JazzYatra and Prayojana International Music Festival; PANAFEST, Ghana's major international festival (West Africa); the Guelph Jazz Festival, Canada; the Boston Globe Jazz Festival; the Lake George Jazz Weekend; and the legendary Gayan Samaj Deval Club in Kolhapur, India. Phil is featured on 24 internationally acclaimed CDs, including four as leader of Natraj.
Phil has shared the spotlight with icons of Indian classical music including saxophone great Kadri Gopalnath, percussion masters Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and Trichy Sankaran, Sangeet Samrat Chitravina N. Ravikiran, and bamboo flute maestros Ronu Majumdar and Shashank; as well as African master drummers Godwin Agbeli and Abubakari Lunna. Phil performs and records with creative jazz ensembles including Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Composers Alliance, and Sandy Prager....
Phil develops a raga beautifully on the saxophone... The effect was that of a bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) or shehnai (Indian double-reed instrument). - Saptahik Sakal, Pune, India
Highlighted by Phil Scarff's scorching tenor [saxophone] solo... - All About Jazz
Indeed close listening is mandatory to hear where Scarff... merges the raga with straight-ahead saxophonic lines to delightedly leap from bop logic out into a musical realm which resembles those introduced by Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, et al. - Cadence
Phil Scarff's Indian classical performance on soprano saxophone amazed the audience... He played with a sweet, sonorous tone, soulfulness, and focus equal to those of a great Indian classical musician... The spellbound listeners were moved and touched... Scarff won the hearts of the connoisseurs. - Tarun Bharat, Kolhapur, India
A cerebral improviser who develops a solo logically, deliberately, and passionately. - Jazz Now
Scarff's virtuosity was in no doubt... superb. - Afternoon on Sunday, Mumbai, India
Raga Bhairavi reminded one of Bismillah Khan's thumri for Scarff's saxophone sounded so much like a shehnai. - Kala Arts Quarterly
Phil Scarff... enchanted musician. - Downbeat
Saxophonist Phil Scarff: real find. - The Sunday Observer, Mumbai, India