Jazz fans all over know that there are probably more sax players out there than any other instrument. So, when a new one emerges and actually catches your attention, it is worth noting and taking the time to tell others about him. Saxophonist Phil Denny enters with a new sound and energy to do just that. His sound is fresh and original.
Denny, a Lansing, Michigan native has found that music is his true calling. A former vice president for a mortgage brokerage firm of seven years and part-time performer, he decided to leave the unstable mortgage industry and make music his primary career. A wise choice considering the splash his first solo CD has made.
Denny spent most of 2011 in the studio with producer Nate Harasim, perfecting the much anticipated debut CD, Crossover, released in August, which delivers a contagious blend of upbeat and alluring music. Denny teamed up with a great cast of musician friends, including Cindy Bradley, Darren Rahn, Nate Harasim, Nils, and Gerey Johnson, on this ten track CD to bring you an album full of a variety of musical stylings.
The tone of the CD is set from the get-go with the opening track “Traffic Jam,” the laid back cool of “Give A Little,” and the sassy “Playin’ Coy.” “Be There For Me” is a romantic, melodically beautiful tune which caught my attention right away. “Push” is an upbeat tune that moves you to get up and dance. Nate Harasim’s piano solo adds so much depth. Vocalist Anna Stevenson is featured on the gentle track “When I Think” and adds a change of style right in the middle of the album. The title track beckons you to the dance floor and has a killer guitar solo from Matt Godina, while the head boppin’ “When We Were Friends,” and the up-tempo “Suite Party” featuring Nils, rounds out this all-around top-notch and varied music.
Phil Denny came to the contemporary jazz party determined to make his mark right from the beginning. I would say he has done that and more. I haven’t been this excited over a sax player since Andrew Neu hit the scene. I am looking forward to hearing more from this saxman. Definitely check out Crossover.