JazzTimes (5/01, p.108) - "...A sound that reveres the masters of '50s and '60s jazz....a truly transporting effort..."
Personnel: Simon Phillips (drums); Jeff Babko (piano); Brandon Fields (soprano & tenor saxophones); Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dave Carpenter (bass).
Recorded on September 3, 1999. Includes liner notes by Jeff Babko and Simon Phillips.
Simon Phillips is a powerhouse drummer who has logged time with artists from the Who to Toto, in addition to leading his own electro-fusion side projects. For that reason it may come as a surprise that what Phillips and pianist Jeff Babko have created with VANTAGE POINT is an acoustic quintet session that trips over into the straight-ahead jazz genre. Still, this isn't your grandfather's jazz; instead, Phillips and Babko assemble a stellar gathering of world-class L.A. session men who perform a sort of jazz-on-steroids.
Phillips' usual hard-hitting, locomotive style is tempered somewhat to accommodate the acoustic setting. The quintet performs many complex arrangements with the utmost dexterity and energy. Phillips and Babko split the writing duties, save for the final live recording of Freddie Hubbard's "Spirits of Trane." Overall, the solos are Herculean in scope, no doubt inspired by the material and the no-holds-barred atmosphere. This is a unique group pooling their collective chops into music that is part tradition, part contemporary, and totally impressive.