It’s easy to be familiar with Phil Kenzie’s superb sax work. Just recall the soaring solos on Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” or “Time Passages” – still enjoying favored airplay almost 40 years since their release; the punchy brass intro to “Jet”, by Paul McCartney; or the inspired solo on “The Long Run” from The Eagles Live album. In fact, this gifted sax player/arranger has lent his masterful touch to hits by everyone from Rod Stewart to Jackson Browne – Stevie Nicks and Roseanne Cash to David Bowie – and in the process has ammassed some nineteen gold and platinum albums!
Now based in the United States, Phil is originally from the Liverpool area and, in his first band, The Pressmen, played many of the clubs made legendary by the Beatles – occasionally sharing billing with the “Fab Four” at the Cavern and Hamburg’s Star Club. So it was totally appropriate that Phil should later play on the most classic swan song of the century, “Let It Be.” This connection continued with Phil’s later work on recordings for Apple Records, most notably John & Yoko’s Plastic Ono Band and the horn section work and solos on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Through these sessions, Phil also worked with such notable stars as Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Peter Frampton, Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell, Doris Troy and Billy Preston. As a sought after session man, Phil was doing gigs around London with Manfred Mann’s “Chapter Three”, arranging and performing shows for Jack Good’s psychedelic update of Othello entitled Catch My Soul, finding time to appear on Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run album and to be heavily involved in the hit cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show – playing and recording both the show and the movie and supplying the screaming rock sax for Meatloaf’s portrayal of “Eddie”. During this time Phil also worked with Alan Parsons, David Essex, Joan Armatrading, Ian Gilliam, Alex Harvey, Leo Sayer, Black Sabbath, Steve Harley, Marc Bolan, Wishbone Ash, Annie Lennox, David Bowie, The Coasters, The Temptations, Arthur Connolly, Mick Ronson, Ian Hunter and Roger Daltry, appearing on his Ride a Rock Horse album and on both David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album and his widely inventive television special “The 1980 Floor Show.”
At this point Phil was asked by Alan Parsons to record what would become the legendary hit, “Year of The Cat,” by Al Stewart. In the subsequent tour of America and another hit for Al, “Time Passages”, he caught the attention of Rod Stewart and was asked to join his band, recording with Rod what would turn out to be his biggest album to date, Blondes Have More Fun. Phil would ultimately appear on five albums for Rod including Footloose and Fancy Free, Foolish Behavior, Rod Stewart Live and Greatest Hits.
After deciding to live in America, Phil worked with The Eagles, Rod Stewart, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Vince Gill, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Karla Bonoff, Boy George, Carly Simon, Randy Meisner, Steven Stills, Poco, The Pointer Sisters, Kenny Loggins, Tom Petty, Ronnie Spector and Debbie Gibson. Having become a highly valued musician by some of the biggest stars on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, some players might be content to sit back. Not Phil Kenzie. While maintaining a busy schedule of film, TV and recording dates, he has expanded his activities into songwriting and the production of his first album, A Night with the Cat. Given his milestone career, you know this one was well worth the wait.