It's Time to Get Ready for Love
Album reviewed and ranked -------"Among The Greats" ---- a must hear Vocalist Phill Freeman, born in Indianapolis, Indiana has been performing for most of his life. He resides in Rochester, NY and aspires to branch out into other areas of the country and the world, as his music career unfolds. A mature seasoned performer in Upstate New York, Phill Freeman has caused quite a stir among music and jazz connoisseurs, in that they liken his voice to great jazz vocalist such as young Billy Eckstien, Johnny Hartman and Lou Rawls. In the 2001 issue of Jazz Improv magazine Vol. V3N3, Freeman's CD was favorably reviewed by one of Chicago's well-known jazz critics, John Barrett Jr. He states, "" You hear confidence from all directions; the soft, tuneful arrangements, the creamy emotional voice. The piano tiptoes on 'Wives and Lovers,' like it's walking into an empty room. Inside is the singer: his phrasing warm, his tone with a fine layer of grit. This deep crackling voice is different from Joe William's', or most any jazz singer's; I'm reminded of Jerry Butler...and I think I like Phill better. He'll use vibrato on long phrases, leap an octave to emphasize words- and drop to a whisper for intimate expressions. John Nyerges' piano is greatly romantic, with bluesy touches somewhere between Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi. The brushes waltz along the final word 'looooove' is rightly external and the tune concludes with a splash of thick echo. Everything is perfect-and this form a former 'weekend singer' whom only recently quit his day job. If anyone doesn't need a Plan B, it's Phill Freeman. You have to admire the song choices: in among the standards are tunes you never hear in the context of jazz. In the hands of Skeeter Davis, 'The End of the World' was a teenage trifle; Phill does it as slow, sweet, resignation. He sings at the top of his range, and says 'baby' at the right moments- the bridge is given new chords, which heightens it's impact. Listen for Campbell's bass, playing a baiao pattern. John's solo is lush, and miles away from Nashville. The bass then toughens up, sliding along. 'Matter of Time," Phill's delivery is clipped; a little more forceful than Brook Benton's..... And the band cries out in desperation. (John wallops the keys, in a worried burst of sound.) It's almost two voices on "The Good Life: a genteel lilt on some lines, and a deep sparkle on the others. The mood is relaxation, and the drums slumber off in the background. You must hear this voice- like the glow in the heel of a deep glass of wine. And like that wine, Phill makes you feel warm inside. The presentation is simple yet elegant; no ostentation, nothing to get in Freeman's way. " The Very Thought of You" has a steady sizzle from Rich Thompson's brush-and not much else The piano is shy, and the voice is bold: a rounded rich trombone sound. Jeff Tyzik's cornet blares like a siren, calling attention to "At Last" Phill is at his deepest, while his vocal leaps suggest Etta James- now that's an intriguing combination. There's a bossa beat on "My One and Only Love" a faster pace and steady flow of romance. Nyerges has one of his best solos; not too forceful but the impact is felt. "Unforgettable " is strong and the lyric races a little bit- Tyzik is back and his chorus has a raspy charm. Phill's final note is a slide, dropping two delicious octaves. His "Lush Life" may be the most sophisticated I've ever heard: he even says "distingue" properly He's nonchalant at the start, then vaults and octave on toooo many through- the- day..." His pain is showing through. ( The same thing happens when he speaks "Again...I was wrong.") John's turn is quite atmospheric, skipping as the bass rolls deeply. And "Without a Song" is a lovely sigh in the depth of night. John adds a few notes but the sound is lonely: Phill will loudly proclaim the better things to come, then drop back to a whisper. We hear the trio alone for a break and they lead freeman towards the end, where he sounds more confident. Confidence is all over this disc, and it should be. I have no hesitation in ranking Phill among the greats. In My opinion, he's already there."" His repertoire runs the gamut of blues, contemporary and traditional jazz, and pop. Freeman possesses an extraordinary vocal range, which serves him extremely well when singing any style. His phrasing, voice control and richness make each song a listening masterpiece. Phill Freeman, more recently, performed as the first act in concert with Roberta Flack, Jessie Cook, the Caribbean Project, and Joyce Cooling. The sold out concert received excellent reviews and return performances. Phill Freeman is also featured on the Rochester Philharmonics Christmas CDs. The 1998 CD features him on one track and the 1999 CD features him on three tracks both recordings are live performances at the Eastman Theater Rochester, New York. Coincidentally, he is the first vocalist to ever appear on the (RPO's) CDs. His CD recently received an outstanding review in the 2001 fall issue of Jazz Improv Magazine and was described as being "among the greats" and possessing a must hear voice. Presently Phill is working on his new project scheduled to be released in the fall of 2007. This album will consist of original material and will be produced and arranged by Phill Freeman and others.