Dr. Damani Philips is a native of Pontiac, MI, where he began playing at the age of 10. He currently serves as assistant professor of jazz studies and African-American studies at the University of Iowa, where he teaches applied jazz saxophone, directs jazz combos, and teaches courses in African-American music, jazz history, jazz theory and improvisation.
Previously, Phillips was assistant professor of music (Jazz Studies) at Grinnell College, where he directed the jazz ensemble and taught jazz composition/arranging, jazz history, improvisation, musicianship and aural skills.
He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in music from DePaul University and the University of Kentucky in classical saxophone, and a second Masters degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University. Phillips recently completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is one of the first African-Americans in the country to earn this degree.
An active performer, pedagogue and composer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the United States, England and Japan. He has previously served on the adjunct faculty of Oakland University (Rochester, MI) and Macomb Community College (Macomb, MI), and is actively sought as a guest artist, clinician and adjudicator.
As a performer, Phillips has performed with Christian McBride, Terrence Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Belgrave, Terrell Stafford, Maceo Parker, Ira Sullivan, The Temptations, Red Holloway, Greg Gisbert, the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, the touring Dave Matthews cover band “Crush”, and many others.