Mike Phillips – You Have Reached Mike Phillips

Mike PhillipsMike Phillips
You Have Reached Mike Phillips

(Hidden Beach – 2002)
by Raymond Redmond

The name Hidden Beach Records records has quickly become synonymous good music. First they discovered R&B diva Jill Scott. Then the fantastic Jazz/Hip-Hop blended CD Unwrapped. Now executive Producer extraordinaire Steve McKeever has done it again with sax man Mike Phillips. From the raw energy and emotion of “Just One Take” (recorded in just that), to the smooth and sexy groove of “Baby Calls”, Phillips has exploded onto the scene with a sound that is distinctive and sweet. “Maria” is heartfelt and delivered with such emotion that it almost drips with passion and love. Just like the other Hidden Beach releases, this one blurs the ‘genre’ definition lines a little bit. “Stop What Ya Doin'” is a sexy, jazzy track with an almost imperceptible rap vocal going on in the background. “When It Comes To Lovin Me” is a slow-jam if ever I heard one, destined for NAS radio. The title track is just plain old funky jazz, nuff’ said.

“A True Story” jams with a vocal story overlay in the style of a Jill Scott or MeShell Ndegeocello. “Huron Avenue”, on the other hand, is all smooth-jazz from start to finish. In addition to his fine sax work and vocals, Mike Phillips wrote or co-wrote eleven of these tracks, showing his multi-dimensionality. “Tonight” is another example of the raw talent and emotion Phillips brings to his music .. it’s saxophone-based, but not just another sax performance. Additionally, Hidden Beach enlisted the talents of bass man Wayman Tisdale as a writer, producer and performer on portions of this release and his funk-bassology influence is scattered pleasantly throughout the tracks. If you appreciate good music, don’t miss out on the experience… you should definitely reach Mike Phillips.