Phil Palombi is a professional bassist residing in New York city. His performance and recording credits include such players as, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Michael Brecker, Maynard Ferguson, Billy Hart, Etta Jones, Dave Liebman, Chris Potter, Claudio Roditi, Curtis Stigers, Lew Tabackin, Mark Turner, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Chucho Valdes, and Walt Weiskopf. Upon moving to New York City in 1997, he immediately began working full time performing at many of the city’s jazz venues. Jazz wasn’t the only music he was interested in however. Phil is also an accomplished electric bassist and performs regularly around the city in various funk, R & B, and Brazilian pop bands.
In addition to touring and recording as a sideman, Phil has found the time to record a CD as a leader as well as write a book. The book, entitled Scott LaFaro • 15 Solo Transcriptions, is the first book of LaFaro solos ever published. Scott LaFaro was one of the pioneers of jazz bass soloing and this book contains 15 of his solos taken from the Bill Evans recordings Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard. In 1999 Phil recorded his first CD as a leader entitled 80 EAST that features the all-star line up of Joe Labarbera on drums, Harold Danko on piano, and Walt Weiskopf on tenor saxophone. The 12 track disc contains 10 original compositions, five of which are his own.
Phil’s studies began at Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, where he pursued a dual major in Jazz and Classical Performance and Music Education. He studied jazz and classical acoustic bass with Tony Leonardi while keeping up with a heavy load of ensemble rehearsals and concerts. For five years Phil was the bassist for the Down Beat award winning Jazz Ensemble I of Youngstown State, where he played with jazz greats Nick Brignola, Donald Byrd, Terry Clark, Eddie Daniels, Benny Golsen, Duffy Jackson, Chuck Mangione, Bob Mintzer, Marvin Stamm, Lew Tabackin, Bill Watrous, and Jiggs Wigham. Because of this superb jazz program, Phil was selected for the Ohio All-Star College Jazz Ensemble lead by drummer John Von Olen and trombonist John Fedchock in 1993.
In addition to his studies, Phil was also a very busy working bassist in the Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland music communities. Although he enjoyed his work subbing with the Warren Chamber Orchestra for a few seasons, performing with the Greenville Symphony for two seasons, and becoming a regular member of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra for four years, jazz was becoming his main focus.
By his senior year in 1994, Phil was heavily involved in the Cleveland jazz scene, playing nightly with artists such as Greg Bandy, Ernie Krivda, Chip Stephens, and Dan Wall. As the president of the school’s jazz society, Phil was able to obtain funding to bring the legendary jazz bassist Ray Brown to Youngstown for a master class. During Mr. Brown’s brief stay, Phil managed to take a private lesson with the master, which ultimately sealed the door to Phil’s classical career and set him on the path to becoming a full time jazz bassist.
By the fall of 1995, Phil had caught the ear of trumpet virtuoso Maynard Ferguson, and was offered a job with his new nine piece group Big Bop Nouveau. During his two year tenure with Maynard, he recorded the CD One More Trip to Birdland (for Concord Records), a track for a Concord Christmas CD, and performed on the television shows of Pat Boullard, Crook and Chase, Good Morning Texas and Jazz Central on the B.E.T. Network. After performing with the King of Thailand in Bangkok, Palombi left Maynard to move to New York City, where he currently resides.