Dan Phillips

Guitarist & Composer

A new release from Lizard Breath Records is here!
Available October 22nd!


“L’avventura di Vivere” is the second duo collaboration between Dan Phillips and Hamid Drake after 2017’s “Trail of Inevitability” and their fifth work together overall. Other collaborations have included Chicago Edge Ensembles’ “Decaying Orbit” and “Insidious Anthem” as well as the Quartet Next “Dutiful Dissent” album. This eleven track album features Drake and Phillips in a wide variety of moods, shapes textures and colors. From intense duo improvisations to layered minimalist pieces.

Dan Phillips is an American guitarist, composer educator and band leader who has worked professionally in New York, Chicago, Bangkok and Tokyo as well as touring globally. Dan is the leader of the critically acclaimed Chicago Edge Ensemble, Quartet Next, Dan Phillips Trio, Dan Phillips Quartet. Dan has performed with jazz musicians such as Hamid Drake, Gerald Wilson, Danilo Pérez, Hugo Rasmussen, Avreeayl Ra, Matt Darriau, Jim Black, Michael Zerang, Dave Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Mars Williams, Jim Baker, Ben Street, Chris Speed, Mike Sarin and Ed Thigpen and many more.


Hamid Drake is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. By the close of the 1990s, Hamid Drake was widely regarded as one of the best percussionists in jazz and improvised music. Incorporating Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence, in addition to using the standard trap set, Drake has collaborated extensively with top free jazz improvisers. Drake also has performed world music; by the late 1970s, he was a member of Foday Musa Suso’s Mandingo Griot Society and has played reggae throughout his career. Drake has worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, pianist HerbieHancock, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp and David Murray and bassists Reggie Workman and William Parker (in a large number of lineups). He studied drums extensively, including eastern and Caribbean styles. He frequently plays without sticks, using his hands to develop subtle commanding undertones. His tabla playing is notable for his subtlety and flair. Drake’s questing nature and his interest in Caribbean percussion led to a deep involvement with reggae.


  • Chicago Edge Ensembles’ “Decaying Orbit” and “Insidious Anthem”
    New York City Jazz Records Honorable Mention for album of the year 2017, 2018
  • Dan Phillips Quartet “Converging Tributaries” Avant Music News Best of 2017
  • Dan Phillips Hamid Drake “Trail of Inevitability” and Dan Phillips Trio “Divergent Flow”
    Chicago Edge Ensemble “Insidious Anthem”
    Avant Music News Honorable mention 2108
  • Chicago Edge Ensembles’ “Decaying Orbit” and Dan Phillips Quartet “Converging Tributaries”
    Tom Hulls’ Best of 2017 and 2018

What reviewers have said about Dan Phillips’ previous work:

“A strong sense of melody and deft control of his instrument, it seems, is all Phillips’ needs to convey his musical ideas……Phillips has something to say. By the time we get to “Shape 24” things have both changed and not. Employing overtones and a more percussive impact on the strings, the music is still moving, evolving, and interesting. Apparently the first solo offering from Phillips, and a solid two and a half hours of music.” 
Review of “Shapes of Things’ Freejazzblog 2021


“He’s a surgical technician when he wants to be, paring his notes down to their molecular formulas in “Once a Forested Hill” and “Void Illusion” or he open up the possibilities with some indulgent abandon.” 
Review of Dan Phillips Trio Sound Energy in Space allaboutjazz 2019


“The musicians are demonstrating their own style and sound – they don’t hesitate to take on adventurous and bright improvisations, moody and dynamic twists, passionate blowing that go down to peaceful, sad, light and solemn pieces. The variety of moods and expressions effects an emotional, impressive and dynamic sound that is constantly changing.”
Review of Dan Phillips Quartet Light at Depth Avantscena 2019


“Insidious Anthem employs a small band sound reflecting the taut arrangements of leader and electric guitarist Dan Phillips, whose skills as a writer rival his improvisational talent. Hard to label.. the small group packs a strong punch.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Insidious Anthem New York City Jazz Record 2019


“The music on this album is filled with surprises and incredible turns., the musical language is rich expressive, vivid and incredible.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Insidious Anthem Avantscena 2018


“The compositions begin with and intricate and complex sonic architecture or quiet, searching textures that highlight the rich palette of the ensemble…Phillips sets the basic theme and the overall atmosphere. Later these parts mature into collective, free jazz improvisations that enjoy the full power and the soulful sound of the ensemble.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Insidious Anthem Salt Peanuts 2018


“Dan Phillips’ music is highly variable, constantly changing and dynamic. He masterfully puts together loud, expressive, passionate and vivacious improvisations, turbulent and free solos, subtle, peaceful and soft solos with other elements.”
Review of Dan Phillips Trio Divergent Flow Avantscena 2018


“Overall this is highly original music, which offers superb musicality and unique sonic expression both artistic and professional to the core.”
Review of Dan Phillips Trio Divergent Flow Polish Blog Spot 2018


“With each release Phillips’ sound continues to mature and expand. What remainsunchanged is his imaginative creativity and his restless inventiveness. These and his shared musical vision with his sidemen- accomplished artists in their own right are what make this recording an absorbing musical treat.”
Review of Dan Phillips Trio Divergent Flow Chicago Jazz Magazine 2018”


“Chicago Edge Ensemble is an all terrain vehicle, a quintet equally capable of negotiating the bumpy-smooth contours of swinging post bop, the banked hairpin turns of fusion funk, the fog and ether AACM-style intrigue and the tumultuous thicket that awaits if you gleefully careen off the road.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit Jazz Times 2017


“Phillips in particular proves why he’s the most under-appreciated electric guitarist from the Chicago area. There’s no hesitation or sense of compromise on Decaying Orbit. As the band name implies, this is jazz and improvisational material which goes to the edge, stays there and doesn’t retreat.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit Audiophile Magazine 2017


“With it’s palpable personality, rigorous but approachable compositions, and sure footed sense of self, Chicago Edge Ensemble’s Decaying Orbit not only pays homage to the city that Phillips’ loves, but solidly places him on the map as a formidable instrumentalist and composer. It’s a treat to hear him play with such a first rate band of some of Chicago – and the world’s – greatest musicians.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit Broadway World 2017


“Dan Phillips leads a Quintet with a big Chicago sound and memorable compositions.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit The Wire Magazine 2017


“Chicago jazz is the complexity of the postmodern with a predisposition for rump shaking. The Quintet rarely lowers the flame below boiling.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit allaboutjazz 2017


“This is a fine album of interesting themes and powerful performances by the full ensemble and the soloists. Everyone draws deeply from the limitless well of the city’s musical history and creates a bold and thoughtful statement.”
Review of Chicago Edge Ensemble Decaying Orbit jazzandbluesbloagspot. 2017


“The Variety of moods, expressions, characters and playing techniques, masterful and organic synthesis of different musical language elements and expressive and extraordinary improvising create innovative sound on this album.”
Review of Dan Phillips Trio “Divergent Flow” Avantscena 2018