Walking the Changes – Bass Documentary

A Film by Nick Wells : beneaththebassline.com/double-bass

It was an immense honor to be included in Nick Wells’ excellent documentary, Walking the Changes | Legends of the Double Bass in Jazz. This film should be required watching for every inspiring bassist. Nick went through great lengths to interview some of the most amazing players alive today (most of whom are my heroes), and he captured really great moments, both in interviews and performances.

My contribution involved speaking about the contributions of bass great Scott LaFaro. For my segment, I met the camera crew at the legendary Village Vanguard, with Scott LaFaro’s Prescott bass in tow. Though I have played Scotty’s bass at the Vanguard a few times in the past, this experience was different. I felt the weight of my responsibility as I played a solo version of Gloria’s Step on LaFaro’s bass in the center of that historic jazz club. For me personally, that was a true life milestone.

This film is full of amazing interviews and performances by Dave Holland, Larry Grenadier, Ron Carter, Avishai Cohen, Chris Minh Doky, Liran Donin, Stanley Clarke, Steve Rodby, Phil Palombi, Lars Danielsson, John Patitucci, Christian McBride, Jon Thorne, Jasper Hoiby, and many more!

Follow Nick and this film on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/walkingthechanges

Walking the Changes centres around pivotal moments in the history of the double bass in jazz. Featuring exclusive interviews with the bass players who’ve pushed the boundaries of rhythm-section playing, elevating the instrument from a mere time-keeping role, to visionary composers and improvisors. With never-before-seen performance footage, studio outtakes and rare photos, this film unpacks the music of the best jazz bassists of all time.

Bill Evans Documentary Interview

About a month before I recorded my tribute to Scott LaFaro (RE:Person I Knew) with the late Don Friedman and Bill Evans alumnus Eliot Zigmund, I got a call. Don told me that a film maker named Bruce Spiegel contacted him about an interview for a Bill Evans documentary he was putting together. When Bruce heard that we were about to go into the studio together to record a tribute to Scott LaFaro, along with Scott’s Prescott bass that he used on some many recordings, he asked if I would be interested in talking a little about LaFaro for the documentary.

Bruce swung by Bennett Studio on our second day of recording for the interviews, basically hitting three birds with one stone: Eliot, of course, was a part of the Bill Evans trio, and I have my in-depth knowledge of LaFaro and how he fit into the trio musically. Don, however, had a very unique claim to fame. I don’t think this is in the film, but Don told me a story about a night he got a call from LaFaro, who asked him to run down immediately to some jazz club (in Manhattan) where the Bill Evans trio was headlining. Apparently the cops picked Evans up for something and he couldn’t make the gig that night– and that’s how Don Friedman played with the Bill Evans trio! Don, of course, was also Scott’s roommate and good friend, which he elaborates on in the film.

The documentary is very thorough and well put together with tons of great interviews. I think my favorite segment is Paul Motian, who speaks at length about that trio. From what I understand, it was difficult to get Paul to talk about that trio or anything else from the past. He was always looking to the future, so this interview is a rare treat.

I highly recommend renting this documentary! You won’t be disappointed.

VINYL HAS ARRIVED – Detroit Lean Limited Edition LPs!

Get’em while there cooling down! I’ve pressed only 300 audiophile 180g Lps, all of which are signed and numbered.

The recording LP was tracked at the Club House on a beautiful vintage Neve desk by engineer George Petit, mastered by the great Oscar Zambrano at Zampol productions, cut by the legendary Scott Hull at Masterdisk, and pressed in my birth state of Ohio by Gotta Groove records.

I spared no expense for this limited edition pressing, right down to the 180g double LP and thick, full color, glossy gatefold jacket reminiscent of the old Impulse! recordings. Watch the video to learn more!



CD Release Party at Birdland!

Thursday, October 20th – 6pm-7:30pm

Detroit Lean Cover

Detroit Lean

It is finally time to release my latest recording into the wild! Join me and the band at Birdland and check out what this stuff sounds like LIVE. Thanks to the generous support of the International Society of Bassists, I will have Scott LaFaro’s bass with me for the concert (I used it on the record too).

Also just like the record, I’ll have Matthew Fries, Keith Hall, and Tony Romano with me. You can buy tickets at the door or in advance from the Birdland website. I recommend at least making a reservation in advance if you are coming.


Of course, you can PURCHASE THE CD NOW if you’d like to be prepared for the gig. I hope to see y’all there!



New Recording Coming Soon!

UPDATE: It’s here! Check out PhilPalombi.com/Detroit-Lean for details!

Phil with Scott LaFaro's Bass

LaFaro’s bass in the bass booth.

I’ve been kind of quiet about this so far, but I guess it’s time to spill the beans. I have a new solo project coming out scheduled for a 2016 release! This is definitely my most ambitious project to date.

2015 has been a pretty massive year for me. It started with having Scott LaFaro’s bass again, this time for six months. When I found out that I was going to have this instrument again, I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to record another CD as a leader. Once I committed myself to that path, I got to work writing! Every morning I would wake up, grab a coffee, and head downstairs to my home studio with manuscript paper and a clean slate. My goal was to write at least twelve songs. Ten made the final cut to the record. This time around I wanted to feature Scotty’s bass in a modern setting. I even tracked a few songs on electric bass, which is a first (but not last) for one of my solo projects. READ MORE

The Return of LaFaro’s Bass to the Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

On May 4th, I walked through the doors of the Village Vanguard with Scott LaFaro’s bass in hand. Why is that a big deal? I guess we all have our ideas about what matters in live. We all have our personal journeys to make, and along with those journeys comes our own views of what is monumental. For some people, life landmarks may have been scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or becoming the CEO of a successful company. For me, it was playing LaFaro’s bass on the very stage that he recorded Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard 53 years earlier. READ MORE

The Importance of Critical Listening — Part 2

Thorens TD124

My baby!!

A little while ago I talked about why it’s important to sit down and listen to music, not just have music playing in the background of your life (The Importance of Critical Listening Part 1). I also eluded to the fact that listening to mp3 downloads aren’t going to help you develop your tone. In this blog post, I’m going to tell you about a few ways to improve the sound of music in your life! READ MORE

The Importance of Critical Listening — Part 1


Enjoying the Hi-Fi

As I typed the title phrase Critical Listening I thought to myself “Why do I need to include the word critical?” Why not just title it “The Importance of Listening”?

I guess I added critical for the younger generations that may not have grown up with the idea that a home stereo could be something that you sit in front of like a computer, TV, or book. I felt that if I would have just used the word listen, some people might think “Sure, I listen to music every day- in the car, at the grocery store, when I’m walking across campus, etc… What’s the big deal?” READ MORE

Two Important Dates!

I have a few very exciting things to tell you about involving two very special projects that I am extremely proud of. These projects showcase two distinct yet interconnected sides of my playing– the acoustic trio Tri-Fi and the electric trio (718).

February 25th is the official release date for Tri-Fis’ 5th studio recording entitled Staring into the Sun. If you’re not familiar with us, please swing by our website at www.tri-fi.com or our youtube page at www.youtube.com/trifijazz. I have a few more videos posted to my personal YouTube page as well (www.youtube.com/bassphil). We’ve been together for 10 years now, and I think that this is our best recording to date. Since you are a subscriber to my mailing list, I’m assuming that you enjoy my playing. Well, I feel like this is the trio that that best showcases what I can do on the bass. Matthew Fries and Keith Hall pull the best out of me.

February 25th is the release date for Staring into the Sun, and our East coast CD release parties are happening at a few places in March– March 9th at the Deer Head Inn in the Del Water Gap, March 10th at Smalls in NYC, and March 11th at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philly. If you’re in neighborhood, swing by and say hi. If you’re outside of New York, you can watch us perform live streaming online at the Smalls’ website on Monday March 10th for only a few dollars!

Then there is that other side of me– the electric bass. I played the electric bass years before I ever picked up an acoustic bass, and I finally have a project that I feel showcases my electric playing. We call ourselves (718), as in the area code for the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. We will be releasing our debut recording Saturday night March 8th, at the legendary Blue Note in NYC as part of their Late Night Groove series. When they say “late night”, they mean it! We’re playing one 90 minute set that starts at 12:30am Saturday night. Yeah, that’s right. It’s still the city that never sleeps!

Our CD is entitled Sputnik, which you’ll find for sale on our website at www.718music.com. We also have a YouTube page where you can see some of the goofy videos I put together in my spare time.

Where and When?

March 9th – The Deer Head Inn, Del Water Gap, PA
March 10th – Smalls, Manhattan, NY
March 11th – Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
May – Denmark! Details TBA


March 8th – The Blue Note, Manhattan, NY

10 Years of Tri-Fi?!

Tri-Fi on Stage

Tri-Fi on Stage

Really, it’s been T-E-N years already? It’s hard to believe that my co-op lead trio of friends has been playing, touring, and recording for ten years. Some of you may know about Tri-Fi already, but let me give a quick little backstory for the people that do not.

Once upon a time in the land of New York City, there was a bass player named Phil Palombi. One day, Phil met a drummer named Keith Hall at a jam session. They were very happy to play together and were often called upon to team up in a rhythm section. Years later, Phil met a brilliant young pianist named Matthew Fries. The chemistry was there from the beginning.


TV Show with Curtis

TV Show with Curtis

Unbeknownst to Phil, Matthew and Keith were already very good friends who were at the time backing a vocalist named Curtis Stigers. When the bass chair opened up in Curtis’ band, both Keith and Matthew (without talking about it) independently recommended the young Phil Palombi for the gig. Their journey as a trio was underway! Performing over 100 gigs a year backing Curtis really brought them together as a trio, so much so that they decided it was high time to record their own music under their own name. Yep, you guessed it- Tri-Fi was born! READ MORE