Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1936, Sonny Phillips came up in Chicago, credits Jodie Christian as an influence, and took a few lessons from Ahmad Jamal. Phillips switched from piano to organ in 1959 after hearing Jimmy Smith and worked with Eddie Harris, Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, and Houston Person. Sure 'Nuff (1969) sets Phillips's fleet stylings among Person's meaty tenor sax, Virgil Jones's mercurial trumpet, and the tasteful guitar of Boogaloo Joe Jones. The highlights are the funky title tune (from Phillips's pen), the buoyant "Be Yourself," a thoroughly worked "Oleo," and the down-home "The Other Blues." Black on Black! (1970) teams Phillips with Columbus tenorman Rusty Bryant, guitarist Melvin Sparks, drummer Bernard Purdie, and bassist Jimmy Lewis. The sensuous title track and Grant Green's "Blues in Maude's Flat" are real standouts, and their "Proud Mary" does the original more than proud.
with Virgil Jones, Houston Person, Boogaloo Joe Jones, Bob Bushnell, Bernard Purdie, Rusty Bryant, Melvin Sparks, Jimmy Lewis