Phil Seamen

Photograph by Terry Cryer


Jazz Drummer

Phil Seaman became Britain's most sought after jazz drummer and quite a few great American musicians, such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa,became well aware of his prowess.

Ginger Baker

Phil Seamen was good friends with Ginger Baker and the two drummers collaborated together in 1970 in Ginger Baker's Airforce.

West Side Story

Phil Seamen played yhe drums in West Side Story when it came to the UK and even gene Krupa was impressed after hearing Phil play when he caught the show in London.

Daily Telegraph

Phil Seaman carried a pair of drum sticks with him everywhere he went. Always wrapped in a copy of the Daily Telegraph, says Kevin Chesham, who had lessons from Phil in 1971/2.

We were pleased to hear from Herb in New York about this great new CD showcasing Phil Seamen

Wild Man Of The Drums Phil Seamen Remembered On Superb New Album

The gargantuan drug habit of drummer Phil Seamen, who died in 1972 aged just 46, often overshadowed the Burton-on-Trent-born man's glorious playing. But with a new compilation The Late Great Phil Seamen set for release on the Dutch Sharp Wood label next month all this is set to change because some of the best moments of his career are gathered together on a single CD for the first time.

Some of the key moments of the album include his gutsy work with tenorist Dick Morrissey on Jimmy Witherspoon song 'Times Getting Tougher'; 'Free' with Stan Tracey unusually playing vibes, as well as Joe Harriott's 'Abstract' with Seamen joining the great Jamaican saxophonist, trumpeter Shake Keane, bassist Coleridge Goode and pianist Pat Smythe on the track taken from the classic Jazzland album, Free Form.

Inspired by hearing Gene Krupa play on records with the Benny Goodman band, Seamen went on to work with every big name in British modern jazz from the late-1940s onwards, including Jack Parnell, Ronnie Scott in the mid-50s, Vic Ash, Victor Feldman, Don Rendell, Dizzy Reece, the Jazz Couriers, Tubby Hayes and altoist Joe Harriott from 1960-62. Later in the 60s Seamen became the resident drummer at Ronnie Scott's club, playing with many US stars including Johnny Griffin, Freddie Hubbard and Roland Kirk.

Fast, strong and supple with the ability to pull the listener into the heart of his energising bebop lines, the CD compiled by producer Michael Baird, is a reminder of a great musician in his prime about whom Sonny Rollins when recalling his days at Ronnie Scott's in the 60s told Jazzwise recently: "We had a lot of fun with Phil, and all the guys". Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who Seamen taught, in the sleeve notes to the album says: "There were few drummers in the world who could come close to Phil Seamen."

Released next month the album will surely confirm Baker's opinion of Seamen's playing and alert a new generation to a talent which burned bright for the short period of his life but whose recorded legacy lingers long. Read November's Jazzwise for Jack Massarik's detailed account of the highs and lows of Seamen's career.

- Stephen Graham

An amazing tribute to one of the hippest drummers ever -- the late, short-lived Phil Seamen -- easily one of the hippest cats to ever hit the kit on the British jazz scene, and a player who could make visiting Americans forget all about their rhythm sections back home! Phil had an undeniable groove that was evident from his very first recordings -- a bad-snapping sense of rhythm that made him one of the most in-demand drummers during the key Brit bop years of the 50s and early 60s -- a time when Seamen's drumming could really help transform the sound of a tune! He also did some key avant work too, most importantly with Joe Harriott -- and most of his greatness is beautifully captured here, in a selection of tunes recorded with a variety of different leaders, plus a solo number and even a brief spoken bit too. The book features very detailed notes on Phil's life and music -- and titles include "Tangerine" with Harold McNair, "Free" with Stan Tracey, "Tonal" with Joe Harriott, "Kick Off" with Jack Parnell, "The Escape" with Dizzy Reece, "Seamen's Mission" with Ronnie Scott, "Reza" with Tony Coe, "Bongo Chant" with Kenny Graham's Afro Cubists, and "One Four" with Kenny Graham & His Satellites.
© 1996-2009, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

available through these websites: