Exposé Online banner

Simon Phillips — Another Lifetime
(Magna Carta MA-9033-2, 1999, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1999-11-01

Another Lifetime Cover artSimon Phillips is a drummer who has little to prove nowadays, what with the monstrous level of playing ability he has cultivated over the years. Terry Bozzio is perhaps his closest competitor musically speaking. But whereas Bozzio blazes uncharted trails in percussion styling (often at the expense of what is musically appropriate), Phillips makes up for a less groundbreaking spirit by a style that speaks with a fluidity unmatched by Bozzio's stiffness. (Odd - Bozzio was once quite the feel-oriented player that he now is certainly not). Another Lifetime follows in the footsteps of Jeff Beck, from the days back when Simon was his drummer, showing us a work somewhere between rock and jazz, where guitarists always want to imitate Allan Holdsworth. This is no exception in that on the surface, the guitar does parallel Holdsworth's sound. But comparisons stop there, as in content we are in utterly different terrain. His last release, Symbiosis, was a lot more technical, giving Simon the chance to show what he's got up his sleeve at the kit. But not so much here. There is almost no improvisation for starters. And little is very thematically dense, but rather it gives primacy to atmosphere and groove. Backing Simon up are two guitarists, bass, sax, keyboards, and a percussionist. Keyboards though keep well to the background, and percussion is largely tacit. Simon himself however uses the odd percussive color to spice up his work and it is always tasteful and immaculately executed. His finest effort here must be "Euphrates," where his drumming is actually melodic. Exquisite! But for the most part the band plays in a safer mode, offset by sections of unison melodies whose dynamic peaks and valleys are propelled by Simon's drums. Whenever anything of a technical nature pops up, it is always a simple unison passage, with no counterpoint or contrast. In other words - not much interplay. As if all the parts were recorded by each member separately, an aesthetic more in line with rock music. Thus you'll find no stretching out in the way that Chad Wackerman and his boss do to such intense extremes in all of their work. After eight pieces in this style I began to wonder whether Phillips would give us any kind of spontaneity, i.e., improvisation. It finally came on the very last piece, but it left me realizing what I was missing up to that point. So, I would recommend Symbiosis before coming here.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Simon Phillips

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Progressive & Melodic Rock Vol. 1 - 3 – Can you say Neo? Do you enjoy the music of bands like Marillion, Rush, Saga and Tears for Fears? Do Univers Zero, Area, Etron Fou and Il Balletto di Bronzo give you nightmares? If the answer to the...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues