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Protocol II
Simon Phillips
Label: Phantom Recordings
Review Date: March 30, 2014

It has been 14 years Simon Phillips released his last album, “Vantage Point”.  For a much sought after drummer who has played for everyone from Toto to Tears For Fears; from Mick Jagger to Judas Priest; from Whitesnake to The Who, it goes without saying that Phillips must have a ton of new music building up in his head.

Boy, was there!

Having once again gotten the itch to record some new material, Simon decided to solicit the help of other amazing musicians. He recruited guitarist extraordinaire (and good Boomerocity friend and supporter), Andy Timmons, renowned keyboardist, Steve Weingart, and bass phenom, Earnest Tibbs, to join him in the studio.

The result is nothing short of spectacular and comes in the form of Protocol II.

Phillips says this about what happened in the studio: “I was curious and eager to get playing to see how the chemistry of the four of us would work. The first tune we recorded was Moments of Fortune and I knew immediately this was a great band – great chemistry – a deep pocket and a relentless supply of musicality!”

The chemistry produces some of the best jazz/rock fusion I’ve heard in a while.  The eight tunes that came out of this effort gives the listener a solid hour sheer, musical pleasure. Any one of the eight would make a great audio calling card for the album.

Right out of the chute, Wildfire hooks the listener, causing them to be engaged until the absolute beautiful end of the album.  Intricate, tight, and amazing tone, this tune sets the stage for the entire album.

Boomerocity won’t comment on all of the jewels on this album but did want to highlight:

Soothsayer has a very cool, jazzy swagger vibe to it. This tune made me slap the repeat button an infinite number of times and is one of the Boomerocity favorites off this project.

Gemini is silky smooth jazz fusion at its best.  “Otherwordly”, this song will take you light years into a whole new musical galaxy.  In the musical universe next door, is the amazing First Orbit.  Weingart’s tickling of the keys is smooth and to the point.  

The strutting Moments of Fortune is nothing short of amazing. Timmons’s searing and sassy guitar work is healthily supported by Tibbs’ bass walkin’.  Like Soothsayer, I slapped the repeat button a ton o’ times for this one.

One suggestion when listening to this album:  Do so at least one through a very good set of headphones.  The experience is amazing!

The whole album is pure, blissful joy to listen to. I’ve listened to it while working, reading and resting and it has tastefully enhanced the atmosphere in each case.  Definitely download or pick up a copy for yourself. While you’re at it, get a copy for the music nut in your life. They will definitely LOVE this CD!