nzoa may 2019

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Reviewed by Pedro Santos

Roy Phillips: Standard Procedure

Reviewed by Pedro Santos

Roy Phillips: Standard Procedure

Great album title, that, especially given the jazz platform it’s pulling into and the fact that mostly the nine tracks here are indeed ‘standards’. By now a long time resident of Aotearoa, Roy Phillips is the inimitable voice of 1960s British jazz/blues trio The Peddlers – and as the band’s genius keyboardist likely responsible for the sale of thousands of Hammond organs.

The Peddlers performed and recorded a lot of early jazz standards so this approach is by no means a new development. The closing track is My Way (remember Paul Anka?), an 8-minute live take from a 1974 gig in the Netherlands that still sucks the air from the room.

Also here we’ve got George Gershwins’ Summertime, Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do, Autumn Leaves, Stand By Me etc. with Lennon & McCartney’s Let It Be perhaps the most recent of the songs covered.

According to his website, this is a response to fans’ requests and the first of what’s planned to be a series of ‘Standard Procedure’ releases from Roy’s own Christchurch studio. And let’s face it, an ageing Roy Phillips has found a way to extend his discography without having to take any major new musical excursions.

With the notable aid of Geoff Culverwell on horns and flute he has indeed given them the “Phillips/Peddlers” treatment, albeit at the very gentlest end of the trio’s spectrum. His old band worked a lot with orchestral arrangements and that is the feeling Phillips has gone for here. Low key in a dynamic sense but with a satisfyingly full instrumental palette. I happily admit to enjoying his 2015 originals album ‘Blue Groove’ more, because I love the strength of his voice when it’s being worked. Here we’re more in cruise mode, and while still highly likeable for the background, this will indeed be one for his fans of old.