Friday, February 3, 2012

Woody Phifer - Phifer Designs - Great Luthiers have a life too!! Featuring Reggie Washington

Neither musicians nor great luthiers are locked to their instruments and they actually do have a life. Here, New York luthier Woody Phifer shows another of his passions.... building and flying twin jet aircraft!!

We build one of a kind knobs, truss rod covers and access panels exclusive to each instrument. The book-matched headstock and flush-mounted truss rod cover are cut from the same wood as the top. The access panels are carved from the same piece as the back. Both the truss rod cover and access panel are bound and held in place by one set screw. A raised Plexiglas pickguard shows off the luster of the wood below. The three hand-turned knobs are made from the same material as the body. With mother-of-pearl inlaid on top and a rubber grip to help tractions (volume swells), the knobs are one of a kind. Don't worry - we make an extra one, just in case. The knobs are canted to follow the flow of the top. We feel that these features add to the playability and collectiblity of our instruments.
Our necks are 1 11/16" wide at the nut and have a 14" radius. The streamlined body and heel joint work together with the cutaways to allow complete access to the fretboard. A 251/2" scale length and a 22 fret ebony fingerboard are standard.

The two-piece neck and back are veneered with a three-ply insert to add rigidity which translates to greater responsiveness and sustain.

Bassist Reggie Washington was born into a musical family in 1962. Reggie’s first musical experiences were with his brother Kenny (a drummer, jazz historian and radio personality), with whom he played congas and bongos performing in talent competitions and NYC clubs as “The Washington Brothers.” He moved on; studying cello privately on a music scholarship and playing in several orchestras (Youth Symphony, All-City, All-State, All-Eastern USA Youth Orchestras). A highlight in Reggie’s young career was performing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for four years under conductors Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Morton Gould and Claudio Abbado. While at the High School of Music and Art, he switched to acoustic bass at the insistence of conductor Anthony Diaz. It was the best decision ever made for him!

Reggie studied bass classically with William Blossom (NY Philharmonic), jazz with Paul West (Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams) and afro-cuban with Victor Venegas (Fania All-Stars). The electric bass came along after spending many musical nights at home with his brother and Marcus Miller.

Over the last 20+ years, he has amassed recording, collaborating and/or touring credits with a diverse and talented melange of artists: Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Ronnie Cuber, Buddy Williams, Lester Bowie, World Saxophone Quartet, Steps Ahead, Will Smith, Arthur Blythe, M-Base Collective, Meshell N’degeocello, Ute Lemper, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Uri Caine and Cheick-Tidiane Seck. He has performed at almost every jazz and music festival worldwide with award winning artists such as Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, Steve Coleman and Chico Hamilton.

In 2005 Reggie became a leader, and in 2006 he released his debut CD “A Lot Of Love, LIVE!”—recorded at two live concerts with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, drummer Gene Lake and Belgian musicians (saxophonist) Erwin Vann and (drummer) St├ęphane Galland. Reggie has been touring with his bands through Europe, playing sold out clubs all across Europe, UK and the USA. As a leader, Reggie has performed to very receptive and appreciative audiences at such festivals as Audi Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Blue Note Records Festival, Prishtina Jazz, Villa Celimontana Fest, IG Jazz Festival, Jazz Contreband and Jazz en Nord.
And to hear what can be done with one of Woody's creations.... the fantastic Reggie Washington plays a Miles Davis of my favorites. I hope you enjoy the show!

Reggie was profiled in Bass Player Magazine in 2007, and was among the winners of the Rising Stars electric bassist category in the DownBeat Magazine’s 2008 Critics’ Poll. He was also featured in the April 2008 issue of Jazz Times Magazine in an article entitled “Overdue Ovation; Groove Instincts.”

Oh yeah...the jet!!

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