Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist celebrates his birthday at the Bell Auditorium tonight with the rest of the band.
You know Philip Bailey. He’s stored in your auditory cortex under the Phil Collins duet “Easy Lover” and more so banked with the spiritual mix of R&B, funk, and jazz of the 70’s legendary supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire. Ahhh yeah!
Philip Bailey’s newest solo album, Love Will Find a Way, releases June 21st by Verve Records. The first solo album in 17 years for Bailey. This self-funded, labor of love was inspired by songs from the 60’s that were iconic in helping people get through different struggles social, political, and economic unrest.
Bailey assembled his personal team, including his Daughter Trinity, musical dream team to collaborate on Love Will Find a Way. Award winning artists like, Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Scott, Christian Scott, Casey Benjamin, to name a few helped to craft this two year project produced by Bailey and Robert Glasper.
The first single from the album, Billy Jack, is a Curtis Mayfield song. “I’m a big Curtis Mayfield fan, I used to listen to him as a kid and sang a lot of his songs,” Bailey told the Metro Spirit last week.
Although the words of Billy Jack are Mayfield’s, the arrangement is certainly a reflection of Bailey’s diverse musical influences, experiences, and collaborations. Silky jazz, undulating, psychedelic Caribbean beats, and orchestra horns wrap around Bailey’s memorable falsetto voice in his version of Billy Jack.
Bailey comments on the current climate of music and the new jazz movement in a recent Rolling Stone’s article. “Artists like Robert and Kamasi and Christian, they embrace the nuances of jazz and its historical value, but they’ve really infused the game with new possibilities,” Bailey said. “And I’ve been the recipient of infusion.”
From his early career to now, Bailey never stays complacent. “One thing that keeps it fresh is delving into the music, the artists that I work with in my almost sixty year career are from different genres doing different things.” Bailey continues, “That being said, I’m resilient in my pursuit of excellence in music.”
Bailey who has celebrated musical success is remarkably grounded. “ I think first and foremost, my priorities in God, my emotional, physical, and spiritual health is centered in having a complete joyous and fruitful life.” He adds, “Because I have that grounding, my faith has always kept me right in the center of the situation.”
Bailey is a busy man. He performs with Ramsey Lewis Quartet and still tours with Earth, Wind, & Fire and Bailey shows no signs of touring wear and tear. “I’m seeing myself in these five star hotels, in my suite, getting massages, having opportunities I never could have dreamt of,” he chuckles, “I’m like ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ and then on top of that I make a damn good living doing it.”
Does he have fun? “When I get on the stage, I’m having fun. I’m rendering a service to humanity that they are uplifted. Our music has become part of the soundtrack of their lives and their experiences.” He continues, “I’m like man… I’m a blessed man. I ain’t got nothing to complain about.”
Bailey is still thrilled to see packed houses when he tours after all these years. “It’s a very unusual situation we find ourselves in after all these years, but we’re still having a lot of fun.”
If you want to see him on his birthday with all the other elements of nature, catch him and the rest of Earth, Wind & Fire May 8th at the Bell Auditorium.
Earth, Wind & Fire