Thursday, February 17, 2011

James Phillips 1962-2011

Saxophonist, band director and school principal James Phillips, an old musical colleague of mine, has passed away. I knew him at the University of Oregon around '89-91, when he was the tenor player for the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. He was involved in several of my creative projects that set the pattern for what I have done since. I think the high point was a concert at the time of the beginning of the first Gulf War, which featured a free piece that opened with James reading from Brave New World, and ended with him smashing a TV set with a giant pipe. After that he held the venerated position of band director at South Eugene High (always a great music school), and mentored several excellent musicians in those years, including saxophonist Ricky Sweum and composer Yati Durant. That's James with the goatee. RIP.


  1. I am in shock about this. I thought our paths would cross again some day. Life is too short.

  2. Kevin O'Brien3:00 PM

    I just found out about this and I too am in shock. Tim Vian was my band director at Churchill and told me that I had to get lessons from this new tenor player at the U of O. I was 14. James was my teacher, mentor, and friend from thereafter. I'll always miss him. I remember the TV smashing thing. So interesting coming from such a mild mannered guy. I loved it.

  3. I just found out about James' passing. I am so sad to hear this. It was a privilege to know him. I knew him when he helped with Churchill's marching band when Tim Vian was the band director. He helped out with the summer marching band camps.

  4. Sorry Bobbi-- he had a lot more to give.