Dave Phillips is a bassist for all occasions. Whether leading his adventurous jazz quartet Freedance, weaving supple lines in the rootsy improvisational trio led by accordionist Will Holshouser, holding forth in a chamber orchestra or anchoring a Broadway pit band, Phillips has established himself over the past 15 years as an invaluable collaborator capable of elevating just about any musical situation.
The primary creative outlet for the New York City-based bassist is Freedance, featuring guitarist Rez Abbasi, alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher and percussionist Tony Moreno. The quartet marked its 12th year together in 2004 with a series of high-profile concerts, including the Radio France festival in Montpellier France. The July performance was underwritten by a grant from Arts International and is slated for released as the band’s third CD.
The quartet’s distinctive sound flows both from its wide range of European influences and Phillip’s strikingly lyrical bowed solos. “I’m not a chops heavy player in terms of notes per measure,” Phillips says. “I get more into tone and sound.” While Freedance started as a cooperative group, after a few years it become a vehicle for Phillips’ writing. He composed most of the material on the quartet’s acclaimed, self-named debut on Naxos Jazz in 2000, and all of the compositions for the 2003 follow up on Sound Street Records, Prayer.