Todd Phillips (musician)

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Todd Phillips
Born (1953-04-21) April 21, 1953 (age 63)
San Jose, California, United States
Genres Bluegrass, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, producer
Instruments bass, mandolin
Labels Rounder Records
Associated acts David Grisman, Stephane Grappelli, Darol Anger, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Bobby Hicks, Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, many others

Todd Phillips (born April 21, 1953) is an American double bassist. He has appeared on many innovative, as well as traditional, acoustic instrumental and bluegrass recordings made since the mid-1970s. A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music artists.


Along with Tony Rice and Darol Anger, Phillips was a founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet. He spent five years playing both rhythm mandolin and bass with the group. He then spent another five years with Rice in The Tony Rice Unit. Rice and Phillips also worked together with J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Jerry Douglas in the now classic bluegrass recording group; The Bluegrass Album Band - producing six albums over fifteen years. Since then, Phillips has had the opportunity to work with a virtual "who's who" of acoustic music's finest, such as Vassar Clements, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Stephane Grapelli, Taj Mahal, John Hartford, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O'Brien, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile, Del McCoury, Natalie McMaster, Darrell Scott, Larry Campbell and many more.

In 1983 Phillips received his first Grammy Award for his work with The New South (Crowe, Skaggs, Rice, Douglas) in a live concert recording; "Bluegrass - The Greatest Show on Earth". In '83 he also finished his critically acclaimed first solo recording; "Released" (Varrick Records), featuring Tony Rice and Darol Anger. Throughout the 1980s, Frets Magazine readers voted Phillips five Readers Poll Awards for "best jazz" and "best bluegrass bassist".

Phillips has recorded much since then as producer, engineer and artist. In 1993 he produced Kathy Kallick's "Matters of the Heart", and in 1995 he released his traditional "old-time" bluegrass instrumental CD; "In the Pines" (Gourd Music), and another CD of all original jazz influenced compositions "Timeframe" (Compass Records). Todd's second Grammy Award came in 1997 as producer of "True Life Blues - The Songs of Bill Monroe". The album received three Grammy nominations and won "Bluegrass Album of the Year". The project also received two I.B.M.A. Awards (International Bluegrass Music Association).

Throughout the 1990s Phillips toured and recorded with PsychoGrass (Anger, Marshall, Grier, Trischka, Phillips), The Laurie Lewis Band, NewGrange (O'Brien, Anger, Marshall, Brown, Aaberg, Phillips), The Tim O'Brien Band w/Darrel Scott, and Phillips, Grier & Flinner, among others.

Phillips has produced recordings for guitar great David Grier; "Panorama", and two projects for mandolinist Matt Flinner; "The View From Here" and "Latitude", which led to the formation of the innovative instrumental trio; Phillips, Grier & Flinner and their two highly acclaimed CD's "Phillips, Grier & Flinner" released in 1999, and "Looking Back" released in 2002 (Compass Records).These two CD's are unique in the world of Bluegrass or Jazz based instrumental music - successfully featuring only acoustic guitar, bass and mandolin as the complete ensemble.

Another new venture for Phillips came from his experiences teaching at several music camps, and in 2001 he completed an instructional video/DVD series for Homespun Tapes; "Essential Techniques for Acoustic Bass, I&II".

Recently he has been producing and engineering project at his home studio, including Noam Pikelny, Bearfoot Bluegrass, and PsychoGrass. He has just completed mixing (and playing on) the latest Laurie Lewis Band CD "The Golden West". Phillips' most current effort is a tribute recording project for Rounder Records featuring the songs of Hazel Dickens performed by a host of legendary artists including Joan Osborne, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris. In November '06 he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman (watch the video below) with Elvis Costello and Rosanne Cash during a trip to NY. to record them both for the Dickens tribute project.

He currently tours with Phillips, Grier & Flinner, PsychoGrass, and Laurie Lewis. Along with John Doyle and Dirk Powell he forms the Band for Joan Baez.

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