The Phil Morrison Trio
Bassist/composer Phil Morrison learned to play the drums while serving with the U.S. Air Force in Japan but after discharge, the bass became his instrument of choice. In his hometown of Boston, around the same time that Ornette Coleman was causing a stir nationally, saxophonist Sam Rivers was also spearheading a new musical direction. His group included pianist Hal Galper, drummer Tony Williams or Steve Ellington and bassist Phil Morrison. That period was very significant in Phil's development as a jazz bassist.
Some years later, an innovative electric jazz group was put together by vibist Monty Stark featuring John Abercrombie on guitar, Vinnie Johnson on drums & Phil on bass. This group went on to record for Ahmad Jamal's record label(AJP Records) and did a TV soundtrack consisting of children's songs written by Hoagy Carmichael who also starred in the series. This cd "Now" by Stark Reality was re-released in 2003 by Stone's Throw Records. The show was called "Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop" and was produced by Hoagy's son, Hoagy Jr. and WGBH-TV in Boston. The popular group "Black Eyed Peas" sampled Phil's bassline from that recording("Comrades") and used it in their "Monkey Business" cd "Audio Delite...." To hear the tracks, go to Monty Stark.
Other recordings featuring Phil Morrison on bass include "Birigwa" which presents a unique African singer from Uganda and "Natural Food" ...both on Porter Records. A wonderful singer from Boston, Mamie Lee, used Phil on acoustic bass in her rhythm section and her MGM recording "Once In A Lifetime" as did similarly gifted singer, Gwen Michaels.
Phil continued freelancing & worked with various major artists such asDizzy Gillespie, bluesman T-Bone Walker, vocalist Gloria Lynne and French Hornist John Clark. Phil subsequently joined the trio of pianist/singer Freddy Cole(youngest brother of Nat), with whom he worked for about 5 years. During that time, he frequently toured Brazil because of Freddy's popularity there and developed a strong appreciation for Brazilian music and culture. The Brazilian influence is reflected in many of Phil's original compositions, including a song which was written for the actual "girl from Ipanema" who walked to the beach and inspired Tom Jobim. Her name is Helo Pinheiro and the song(co-written with Keith Williams) is called "Helo From Ipanema".http://www.garotadeipanema.com.br
He Was The King", a tribute to Nat "King" Cole, was co-written with Freddy Cole and songs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Dizzy Gillespie, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Tony Williams and others can be found in Phil's songbook "Phil Morrison...Words & Music.. plus Other Stuff" (c)2000.
Phil began writing lyrics while working with pianist/vocalist Ron Zack who was also into bebop, basketball and Brazilian music. Phil's interest in basketball was the inspiration behind writing a song for the basketball great......Michael Jordan, co-written with pianist, Keith Williams. They also wrote a song for the Beijing Olympics - 2008 while performing in China when China was selected to host the games. Tiger Woods is also included in the Phil Morrison catalogue of songs with his piece entitled "They Call Him Tiger".
Currently Phil Morrison and Keith Williams are co-leaders of a group called the "World Unity Jazz Ensemble" (WUJE) and have recorded in and frequently travel to China & Japan. WUJE MySpace This group features international musicians and instruments and has recorded two cds which are available from this site "China Skies" & "Hollow Reed". The "Hollow Reed" cd features the world renowned erhu artist (Chinese violin), Jiebing Chen. http://www.jiebingchen.com .
Although Phil spent quite a few years residing in Atlanta, Georgia, he now enjoys living on the coast of Georgia, where he composed the official song for that area called "Take Me To The Coast of Georgia". It can be heard on the promotional music video http://www.bgivb.com, performed by The Phil Morrison Trio featuring Keith Williams.
The Coastal Symphony Orchestra (Brunswick, GA) will be performing 4 Phil Morrison compositions from his "Hollow Reed" CD on April 21, 2008. The arrangement for strings were written by Keith Williams and features with Phil's group and the orchestra China's world renowned erhu performer(Chinese violin), Ma Xiao Huihttp://www.maxiaohui.com, featured on the soundtrack of the popular movie "Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger".