Born: December 8, 1965 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Dan Phillips has been a bandleader and composer for more than fifteen years and during this time he has performed throughout North America, and Asia developing an original voice and approach to improvised music.
Dan began his musical pursuits as a teenager playing drums and percussion as well as noodling on the piano. He entered a local Community College in his native Springfield, Illinois as a percussion major before realizing that guitar was his calling and switched in his second year. It was during this time in his hometown that Dan began playing his first Jazz gigs on guitar thanks to genourous compassionate local musicians who heard something promising in the very green young BeBopper. His progress was such that after only a few years on the instrument he had gained enough confidence and chops to enter Berklee College of Music in Boston as a guitar performance major.
While at Berklee, Dan had the opportunity to play and study with many greats in Jazz including John Damien, Pat Metheny and Bruce Arnold. Not satisfied with his own playing he began to realize how much work he had to do. He dropped out of Berklee after a year and a half and began shedding with renewed intensity (living on money he had earned working for his father in a Texas oil refinery during summer months). After a year of practicing and playing local gigs in Boston he decided with the encouragement (and a generous sholarship offer) of a Berklee faculty member to complete his studies. It was also during this period that he was able for the first time to begin performing his own compostions, a goal from the beginning of his musical journey. He led an ensemble in the Boston area that featured Berklee faculty and top students. During his final year he was selected as the guitarist to represent Berklee at the 1990 Montreal Jazz Festival.After graduating from Berklee in 1990 he moved to New York City and began his performing career. Dan was fortunate to land an artist resident apartment on the lower east side in only his second year in the city. This was a blessing that allowed him to avoid theday gig world and focus on music completely. In New York he continued to lead his own groups as well as perform in a variety of settings as a free-lance guitarist in the vibrant downtown scene. New York was certainly fertile ground and his ensembles included many of the new voices in improvised music such as Jim Black, Ben Street, Owen Howard, John Arruci, Chris Speed, Pat Zimmerly and Mike Sarin.
In 1996 he moved to Chicago and again began leading his own groups. It was here that he gained enough confidence through an expedition into unexplored Borneo jungle and with the help of supportive musicians to record his first two CD's featuring original compositions, Journey in Mind and Moment of Clarity. His Chicago groups included Tim Mulvenna, Chad Taylor, Krzysztof Pabian, Phil Gratteau and Tatsu Aoki among others. In 1997 he returned to school (kicking and screaming) and received a Masters in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern Univesity.
In 2001 A burning desire for new experience led him to Bangkok, Thailand wgere began teaching fulltime and acting as Director of Jazz Studies at a Mahidol University College of Music.
In 2004 Dan began working in Tokyo, Japan for several months developing his trio concept in the local scene before returning to Thailand to accept a new position at Rangsit University Conservatory of Music as Lecturer in Jazz Guitar. 2005 brought another big change and Dan accepted a postion at Minnesota State University Moorhead where he worked as Assistant Professor of Guitar for three years endurng frigid cold and right wing musicians before returning home to Bangkok in 2008 to accept a full time lecturer position in guitar and jazz studies at Silapakorn University. The adventure continues!!
Dan has also performed with many international musicians not previously mentioned such as Gerald Wilson, Layla Hathaway, Danillo Perez, Judy Roberts, Bill Yeager, Jeff Parker, Fancois Lindemann, Matt Darriau and Ed Thigpen. Dan has performed at Jazz Festivals in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Thailand.
Review of Dan Phillips Trio CD Destination Unknown, Jazz Improv Magazine 4/08
“The first impact Phillips makes is with his sense of swing and thick notes that fall from his guitar…….he opens the vista in a swell of notes that cut, roll and sweep ahead in a near torrent…..The textures weave and bob, taking flight on the wings of their imagination. Phillips….makes the experience interesting by taking a turn, breaking up a rhythm, and scattering the edifice. In the unknown lies welcome surprise.”
(review of Dan Phillips Trio “A Moment of Clarity” allaboutjazz.com 1/2005
“Phillips obviously has a clear concept for the music on this release. The entire CD is filled with twists and turns which help add to it's interest and appeal ….it also shows Phillips' inventiveness with simple melodic ideas.”
(review of Dan Phillips Trio “A Moment of Clarity”) Jazz Improv Magazine V5N2 12/2004
“….thoughtful and swinging……creates a lot of intriguing colors and not afraid to go out harmonically…It is wonderful to hear music of this high caliber coming from such limited materials. Doing so much with so little is a rarity, and it requires the kind of musical intelligence of a Dan Phillips.”
(review of Dan Phillips Trio “A Moment of Clarity”) Cadence Magazine 6/2004
….he possesses one of the finest techniques I have personally observed; he has an extraordinary sense of time, meter, and phrasing; and he is an extremely lyrical improviser. As a composer, he is capable of expressing himself in uniquely personal musical styles.”
Antonio Garcia, Associate Professor, Director of Jazz Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2004.
“…a world-class musician…..a level of playing not usually attainable by most musicians. In addition he has developed a unique style of playing along with his own distinctive sound.”
Dr. Gene Aitken, retired Director of University of Northern Colorado , IAJE Hall of Fame Member, Currently Advisor to the Director, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, National University , Singapore , 2004.
Taling Chan, Bangkok
Dan has been a guitar instructor and music educator for 20 years. He has had private guitar studios in New York City, Chicago and Bangkok. He has taught at the university level at Mahidol College of Music (head of jazz dept), Rangsit University (lecturer in Jazz Guitar), Minnesota State University Moorhead (Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies) and now at Silpakorn University College of Music (lecturer in Jazz Guitar and Jazz Studies). For Private instruction he has taught students of various interests and levels and has developed a solid approach that fits the needs of the individual. Dan is available locally in Bangkok for private lessons or internationally via Skype. He is also available for workshops locally and abroad. Fell free to contact Dan for more info.
Dan has given workshops and clinics on guitar and Jazz Performance in the US, Austria and Thailand including Northwestern University Evanston Ill, Voels Music School Voels Austria, Imst Music School Imst, Austria, Innsbruck Conservatory Innsbruck, Austria, Olympic College Seattle Washington, MMEA Convention Minneapolis MN, Songkla University Hat Yai Thailand, Thailand Jazz Conference Salaya Thailand, Yamaha Music Stores in Chiang Mai, Phuget and Khon Koen Thailand, Mahasarakam University Mahasarakam Thailand, Yes Academy Bangkok Thailand and No Ego Jazz Camp Bangkok Thailand.