Multi-reed musician who started out with the Bruce Lofgren Jazz Orchestra, with whom he has performed on and off for a quarter of a century.
One of his early recording credits was Earth, Wind & Fire’s All ‘n All. He was a triple threat on Kelly Willard’s 1978 release, Blame it on the One I Love!, playing English horn, flute and oboe. It was not the first time he would virtually comprise his own reed section. He is credited with woodwinds on Bob Bennett’s First Things First and clarinet on Frank Sinatra’s Trilogy, both released in 1979, the same year the BLJO appeared at the Hollywood Palladium in concert with Janis Siegel.
In 1981, he played flute on Lani Hall’s A Brazileira and English horn on Roger Voudouris’s On the Heels of Love. He appeared on three albums in 1982, showing his versatility again by playing recorder on Harvey Mason’s Stone Mason, alto saxophone and piccolo on Jaco Pastorius’s Los Angeles 82, and tenor saxophone on Noel Pointer’s Direct Hit.
In 1990, he was part of an outfit called Lightstream which released The Waterways Album, on which he played English horn, flute, oboe and recorder, and appeared on a couple of motion picture soundtracks, Dances with Wolves and Mo’ Better Blues. A couple of years later, he performed English horn on the soundtrack of A League of Their Own and oboe on Paul Voudouris’s It Takes Two.
Phil continued to stretch himself and branch out with a pair of 1993 recordings, Oscar Castro-Neves’s Brazilian Scandals, which found him multi-tasking on flute, oboe and piccolo, and John Michael Talbot’s Empty Canvas, on which he played the recorder. It wasn’t long before he would need his trusty recorder again, on the soundtrack of Wyatt Earp, released in 1994. He brought his recorder collection to Thom Rotella’s Christmas party, playing alto, bass and soprano recorders on 1996’s Spirit of the Carols.
In 1997, he played oboe on the soundtrack of As Good as it Gets and Harry Connick, Jr.’s To See You, then chucked the oboe aside in favour of English horn and recorder on The Keiko Matsui Collection. He rounded out the decade in cosmopolitan fashion, performing on the soundtrack of Anna and the King and Luis Miguel’s Amarte es un Placer.
At the turn of the millennium, he joined M. Sasaji & L.A. Allstars for Birdland, Fastball for The Harsh Light of Day, and the cast of Cast Away, on English horn. 2002 was a very busy year: In addition to appearing on TV with Josh Groban in Concert and the soundtracks of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Treasure Planet and Windtalkers (Indian flutes, anyone?) he also joined fellow journeyman Paulinho da Costa on Jonathan Butler’s Surrender. In 2003, he helped Aretha Franklin Love all the Hurt Away and played oboe on Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook, and appeared on the soundtracks of Bruce Almighty, Master and Commander, Peter Pan (pan pipes, natch) and Under the Tuscan Sun.
He played reeds of plenty in 2004 on Stan Kenton’s Horns of Plenty, as well as the soundtracks of Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, National Treasure and The Terminal. A year later, he played oboe on the soundtracks of Dreamer and The Legend of Zorro, and split his time between oboe and flute on Luis Miguel’s Mexico el la Piel.
In 2006, he appeared on the Centaur label’s Saxophone Alternative and was busy in the movie studio with Cars, Inside Man, Lady in the Water, Mary Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School, The Nativity Story and Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. He seemingly never left the movie studio in 2007, appearing on the soundtracks of August Rush, Bridge to Terabithia, Hairspray, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. In 2008, he reunited with the Bruce Lofgren Jazz Orchestra, playing alto sax, flute and oboe on Heart of the Night.
In addition to his busy recording schedule, Phil has also served as President of Recording Musicians Association International.
Here he is performing in a duo with his brother Mike Brewer..