Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Uncommon Denominator
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on November 18, 2005
Track 1. Once Again Mike Phillips (Interlude):

The album opens with a simple but catchy bassline on this track, the horn creeps in with a lovely tone and you're right in there with Mike Phillips. The voice saying "Mike Phillips" is a little bit annoying though!

Track 2. Uncommon Denominator:

The sound of the fender Rhodes underlies this smooth track. Again the sax entry and subsequent riffs show off Mike's nice tone. The track is a bit Boney James in flavour and is similar to a lot of smooth jazz out there, but the refrain is lively and stands out.

Track 3. Crazy:

I think the talking parts on this album are mostly intrusive and not quite integrated. This track suffers because of that at the beginning, but once Mike Phillips' sax comes in properly after about one minute, the track comes alive.

Track 4. Heartbeat Of The City:

It's hard to believe Tracks 3 and 4 have different producers (Jeff Lorber produced this one) since they sound so similar. The bass progressions are almost identical and it makes it seem like an endless Track 3, which is not good for an album that wants to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, the solos, as always, are smooth and inventive.

Track 5. If It Takes All Night:

R&B flavoured track with a Zapp & Roger-style synthesized voice singing the "If it takes all night" hook. Featuring Trina Powell - of Trina and Tamara (think late 90s!) fame and sister of Jesse Powell - on vocals, the style favours Mike's fluid tone and progressions. The album as a whole finds some distinction at this point. There are some similarities to Alfonzo Blackwell but it still has its own voice and this track has good cross-over potential.

Track 6. Minnie:

Here again the mellow R&B infused composition showcases Mike Phillip's playing beautifully; he skips notes and scales with ease and the emotion comes through unhindered. The passage from 3:30 to the end of the song is particularly beautiful.

Track 7. G-Money:

The uptempo rhythm of the drummer's brushes give this song immediate life and Mike demonstrates some lively yet emotive blowing. A nice, layered composition with heart.

Track 8. Don't Panic:

Despite the string heavy sound (I suspect keyboard programming) of this track it sounds refreshing and the call and response feel of some of the passages gives the track a nice jaunty touch.

Track 9. We Are One:

Another upbeat track anchored by the delicious sound of a real Rhodes. Without question my favourite track; excellent bass, solid horn playing, lively drums and a little injection of electric guitar. Of course this is a Frankie Beverly cover, and Mike does is justice; some of his solos are like Grover Washington alive again. A subtle alchemy of musical elements that enchants effortlessly. Great live feel.

Track 10. Fiesta:

Again a guitar-tinged track. An engaging, simple, taut and exquisite composition with a lot of sax plus a nice horn section call and response in the hook. Tempo changes are delicately placed and brilliantly executed.

Track 11. 86th & Broadway:

Good track. Nothing really outstanding. The playing is competent and unhurried, but it could be anyone playing.

Track 12. Uptown On A Saturday Night:

Upbeat a la Ronny Jordan except, instead of a guitar lead, the load is taken my Mike Phillips' sax. Smooth progressions and vocal hook is well integrated, unlike Track 3.

Track 13. Flow:

A steady guitar rhythm and shaker-style percussion introduce this track well. There is some good sax played here and the rap interludes are kept to a tolerable minimum. The solo on this track is fantastic.

Track 14. Brent's Bounce:

Another Grover Washington-like track. Some excellent solos and sparse, effective basslines.

Track 15. If U Had A Heart:

This track is the standout ballad of the album and shows of the full range of Mike Phillips' playing talents: he screeches, then drops to a low howl, then whispers... Never a note out of place.

Track 16. Mike & Michaella (Interlude):

Every artsist is allowed a moment of complete self-indulgence; this is Mike Phillips'. After all it's his exit track...
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on October 14, 2005
I have to say that I never even knew who this guy was or planned on buying this cd, but I went into the store I happened to see it on a listening station and decided to give it a try. Needless to say I was very impressed (I like jazz music but never really bought any) and it ended up being the only cd I took home that day.

This is really a good album, I almost felt like I was listening to a full blown R&B album words and all, yet there are only a few words on a couple of the songs. The way he plays kind of puts words in your mind to the melodies your listening to. Ranges from smooth & mellow to upbeat tracks. There might be 1 or 2 songs that I don't care too much for but the rest are all dynamic, and I will definitely keep a look out for future projects by him.

For anyone that may not be into jazz that much but you do like R&B, you should definitely check out this album, I think you might get hooked like I did. Get this cd, its a keeper yall.
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on July 27, 2005
How Kenny G and Boney James became household names and Mike Phillips has not is the crime of the century. I first saw this amazing saxophonist play the national anthem at a Laker game and he was the hottest thing on the floor, Kobe and Shaq included! This album is a music lovers dream. Great playing, great songs, inspired musicianship. Check out Crazy and We Are One on this album. He out Frankies Frankie Beverly on this one. If Mike Phillips turns up missing all you have to do is go find Frankie Beverly because he almost certainly will try to kidnap Mike and force him to play in his band if he ever hears this cover! It's too hard to describe great music. Y'all just need to go buy this cd, turn up the volume and juslissen.
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on November 26, 2012
A pretty good "smooth jazz" effort. Like most of the products from the Hidden Beach label, its got soul. The only thing missing here are vocals. In my opinion a good jazz lp includes the human voice. (Showing my age by using the term "lp"')
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on July 28, 2005
If you think his first CD "You Have Reached Mike Phillips" was musical, then your gonna be in for a big suprise when u pop this bad boy in the CD player! Mike uses different ranges throughout his horn being specifically an alto player. The tone is not too edgy and not too dark which is perfect. Key traxx are numbers: 1-16! My personal favorites are numbers 2,5,7,8,and 12. His first CD was great so that makes Uncommon Denominator a superb piece of music to anyone's ear!
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on July 28, 2005
Undoubtedly, this release from Mike Phillips is instant vintage. You'll be astounded at how seemingly effortlessly Mike twists and turns notes and makes them his own. Anyone who has his first release "You Have Reached Mike Phillips" knows the depth of his range and feeling behind the music. "Uncommon Denominator" may be his sophomore set but once you put it on you'll agree that it feels like home. Cop this disc now and catch the vibe!
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on July 28, 2005
Mike Phillips's second CD - "Uncommon Denominator" was worth the wait.

This CD is awesome as it turned a normal 5 hour drive from North Carolina to Washington, DC into what felt like 3 hours. All 15 songs will make you sway, snap your fingers, dance and just feel good...

The one minute interlude will make you wonder is Mike Phillips the uncommon denominator...
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on September 26, 2005
I Love Mike Phillips music. I especially love the fact that he incorporates his little girl onto the cd's. His music takes you on many turns. It can be upbeat and funky and then slow you down to a sensual sway. I really recommend this album to be added to anyones jazz collection it is truly supreme.
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on September 23, 2005
This CD is hot. My favorite is Don't panic very funky bass line and the melody is great. I got Mikes first one and this tops the last one by far. Mike is very different and does not sound like the other smooth jazz artist playing elevator music.
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on November 8, 2005
mike phillips has done it again, all i have to say is this cd is muy caliente and should be in your collection, here in the city of champions this is how we do it, you saw mike at the spurs ring ceremony, mike is certainly a champion, peace
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