First Listen: Brian McKnight helps Mike Phillips recreate classic jam

(August 28, 2020) In the right hands, the so-called cover tune can be transformed by an artist into a truly memorable moment – even for a song with an already proven hitmaking history.  After years of working alongside Prince, Michael Jackson and other musical icons as well as shining his own solo career, jazz/R&B saxophonist Mike Phillips was past ready to tackle a blast from the past tribute for his latest CD, Pulling Off The Covers

From this SoNo Recording Group release, First Listen proudly showcased a classy, vocal ear candy masterpiece, revisiting rapper Craig Mack’s smash jam, “Flava In Ya’ Ear.”  Assisted by a soulful vocal cast including Naturally 7, Phillips’ fresh, contagious energy was fully evident  

(August 28, 2020) In the right hands, the so-called cover tune can be transformed by an artist into a truly memorable moment – even for a song with an already proven hitmaking history.  After years of working alongside Prince, Michael Jackson and other musical icons as well as shining his own solo career, jazz/R&B saxophonist Mike Phillips was past ready to tackle a blast from the past tribute for his latest CD, Pulling Off The Covers

From this SoNo Recording Group release, First Listen proudly showcased a classy, vocal ear candy masterpiece, revisiting rapper Craig Mack’s smash jam, “Flava In Ya’ Ear.”  Assisted by a soulful vocal cast including Naturally 7, Phillips’ fresh, contagious energy was fully evident  

On the latest edition of First Listen, Phillips’ latest single from Pulling Off The Covers features Brian McKnight in an entertaining remake of Slave’s top 10 R&B gem, “Watching You.”  Phillips pilots the funk with joyful saxophone solos and a tight horn section, leaving plenty of space for McKnight’s soaring tenor and electrifying falsetto.  Though Phillips and McKnight are front and center, the backing band provides a satisfying backdrop.  Even more important, Phillips’ and McKnight’s effervescent personalities help fuel their already solid musicianship.  And those are key ingredients in reshaping a hit that is worth another go-round. 

By Peggy Oliver

 
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