Fans of his work with Toto have likely come to Protocol II looking for some sense of what would lead Simon Phillips away — what sound he heard in his head that he couldn’t make over a well-regarded, decades-long career as Jeff Porcaro’s successor.
“Moments of Fortune,” from this just-released quartet recording for Phantom Recordings, provides a road map. It starts, actually, with a suitably crunchy introduction — sounding something like his old band. But that’s simply a bridge to what comes next for Phillips, and for any Toto fan he’s brought along on this new fusion journey.
From there, they move into this spacious, inviting atmosphere as guitarist Andy Timmons explores an emotional territory between rock and jazz. Phillips, illustrating his ease with leading from behind, digs in deep with bassist Ernest Tubbs and keyboardist Steve Weingart — creating a subtle but never slack cadence.
Weingart then moves briefly forward, creating a counterpoint that triggers an entirely new thought from the group, like trickling rain around purposeful traffic. Timmons becomes grittier, hard-eyed, leading to a middle section that features some of Phillips’ most determined work, and this propulsive, prog-influenced turn by Weingart. They move toward a furious crescendo before opening up into an ozone-scented quiet as “Moments of Fortune” concludes.
Phillips, ever the skilled tactician, gently pushes the group as it gathers for this dark and intriguing exit — having, over eight intriguing minutes, said much about what he hopes to accomplish on his own.
Latest posts by Nick DeRiso (see all)
- Steve Wilson + Orrin Evans, “Spheresophically” (2015): Exclusive Something Else! stream - February 27, 2015
- The Band, “She Knows” from High on the Hog (1996): Across the Great Divide - February 26, 2015
- Russell Malone, “Soul Leo” from Love Looks Good on You (2015): One Track Mind - February 26, 2015