Tag Archives: September Music et al

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

September 8, 1941 – March 25, 1992

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

From the start

It is interesting how we “discover” a musician only to find that they were far larger and wider than we ever suspected. Think Columbus and his “discovery” of the Americas.

I first saw his name when I started listening to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but Phillips was well-established already when he joined Butterfield in 1967.

Wilson had made his recording debut in 1962 on with Sam Lazar on Playback. In the mid-’60s, Wilson became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, an avant-garde jazz group. He cut albums with it as well as the band’s co-founder Roscoe Mitchell.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Joining Paul Butterfield and Gene Dinwiddie in 1967, Wilson soon found himself playing at the first most famous rock festival: the Monterey International Pop Festival.  Though the audience and resulting movie gave Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Who the stellar ovations, Paul Butterfield Blues Band garnered recognition as well.

Phillip Wilson was also with the band when it played early that august sunny Sunday morning in Bethel, NY just before Sha Na Na and Jimi Hendrix. One of the songs featured was Wilson’s “Love March.”

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Post Woodstock…

Wilson remained with the Butterfield until the early ’70s. From there he always remained active as a player, a producer, a composer, and occasional vocalist with:

  • Anthony Braxton
  • Full Moon
  • Julius Hemphill
  • Lightin’ rod
  • Roscoe Mitchell
  • David Murry
  • Hamiet Bluiett
  • INTERface
  • Martha and Fontella Bass
  • Lester Bowie
  • Peter Khuh
  • James Newton
  • Elliot Sharp
  • Bill Lasell
  • The Last Poets
  • Deadline
  • Soren Anders
  • Frank Lowe
  • Blues Brass Connection
  • The Rance Allen Group
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago
  • Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass
Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Dogon A.D.

In 1972, Wilson was part of band that Julius Hemphill had for the Dogon A.D. album.

In a Do the Math article, David Sanborne said of Wilson: Wilson is one of the ultimate insider’s insiders, a brilliant force of possibly unprecedented range, unknown to many despite playing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (including at Woodstock, where they played the Wilson composition “Love March”) and contributing one the most important drum performances to the avant jazz canon on Julius Hemphill’s Dogon A.D.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Phillip Wilson Project

He also released a few of his own albums including The Phillip Wilson Project.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

 Untimely death

Wilson was still actively pursuing his musical career when he was murdered on March 25, 1992.

Marvin Slater was convicted 1997 and sentenced to 33 1/3 years in  prison.

Slater appealed the conviction and on  January 11, 2000, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department upheld the verdict.

The Court said in part, “The verdict was based on legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence. We see no reason to disturb the jury’s determinations concerning credibility.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson
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Donovan Sunshine Superman

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Released July 1, 1966
Hit the Billboard #1 on…
September 3, 1966

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Ear Worm

Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” is one of those songs whose first few notes are immediately recognizable. And after those first few notes we realize we are singing along, Sunshine came softly a-through my…window today.

It may also be of interest to note two of the personnel for the song: Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. A Led Zeppelin cover of the song would have been interesting.

In a Guardian newspaper piece, Donovan said that, “‘It’s primarily a love song – but I was also trying to get to the invisible fourth dimension of transcendental superconscious vision.” 

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Linda Lawrence

According to Donovan in the love interest was Linda Lawrence. When he first saw her she was the recently ex-girlfriend of Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and Linda did not want another spotlight boyfriend. Too many paparazzi. She moved to LA.

Four years later Donovan rented his house to two Americans, one of them called Lorey. Lorey went to a party at Eric Clapton’s house, met Linda Lawrence there, and invited her to her rented cottage. Who did Linda happen to meet there? Who did Linda happen to marry a few weeks later? Who is she still married to? Donovan is the answer to all three questions.

Donovan Sunshine Superman

Here is the link to the Guardian piece: Guardian

And perhaps you’d like to listen again and follow along?

Sunshine came softly a-through my a-window today

Could’ve tripped out easy a-but I’ve a-changed my ways

It’ll take time, I know it but in a while You’re gonna be mine,

I know it, we’ll do it in style ‘Cause I made my mind up you’re going to be mine

I’ll tell you right now Any trick in the book a-now, baby, all that I can find

Everybody’s hustlin’ a-just to have a little scene

When I say we’ll be cool, I think that you know what I mean

We stood on a beach at sunset, do you remember when?

I know a beach where, baby, a-it never ends

When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind

‘Cause I made my mind up you’re going to be mine

I’ll tell you right now Any trick in the book a-now, baby, that I can find

Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me

I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yep

A-you you you can just sit there while thinking on your velvet throne

‘Bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own

When you’ve made your mind up, forever to be mine

Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind

When you’ve made your mind up, forever to be mine I’ll pick up your hand,

I’ll pick up your hand

Donovan Sunshine Superman

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