Note: This is an archived web site from 2005. Unfortunately, this album is no longer available and information posted here may be out of date.
The Phil Hey Quartet
buy the cd
click here

the band
about the cd
email list

The Phil Hey Quarter / Subduction: Live at the Artists' Quarter

It is common knowledge that making a living in the arts in America is a scary endeavor. In any craft, from potters to actors, the top two or three percent make a decent living and the rest need day jobs. Quality is no assurance of success, either, being often overrun by hype or notoriety. Jazz is a particularly perilous practice. It involves the creation of instant beauty . . . beauty on demand. It also happens to be an art form indigenous to America.

Individually and collectively, these players disprove the popular notion that "local" musicians are local because they lack the chops of their more famous brethren. Good is good and has nothing to do with being on a major label or living in New York. In point: Phil Hey has played with a huge share of jazz legends including a live Von Freeman CD of which a New York Times reviewer singled out the ". . . unbelievably swinging rhythm section . . ."; Mose Allison (known to be choosy about his sidemen) has tabbed Tom Lewis for road gigs; without straying too far from the great Sofitel gig, Phil Aaron has backed every singer in the region; Dave Hagedorn not only runs the jazz program at St. Olaf College but is a percussionist with the renowned Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. No, these cats are virtuosi, as you would already know if you are lucky enough to have heard them.

If you have ever heard the Phil Hey Quartet, you were in the Artists' Quarter on a Thursday night. That is the only place the group has played, their existence known to fans of the players and itinerant customers who wandered in on that particular periodic Thursday. The players, themselves, are established talents leading busy jazz lives. All are first call musicians and educators who play with many groups and orchestras.

Considering the instrumentation of the Phil Hey Quartet, one might think that they formed to explore the chamber music possibilities of jazz a la the Modern Jazz Quartet. One, however, would be mistaken. The Phil Hey Quartet emphasizes sheer rhythmic drive over formalism, taking its stylistic cues from the hard-bop tradition. Phil Hey drives the bus with an explosive, intense precision that is reminiscent of his mentor, the great Ed Blackwell. Phil Aaron's full on two-handed piano approach, Dave Hagedorn's wide vibrato setting and hard-swinging attack and Tom Lewis' lyrical bass lines complete a communal sense of musical urgency. Taken together, you have a group that can make little kids run around the room. -- Davis Wilson

The Phil Hey Quartet (PHQ) will release the new CD Subduction: Live at the Artists' Quarter with shows on October 14 and 15, 2005 at the Artists' Quarter. The CD was recorded live in May 2005 at the AQ, and features hard-bop jazz instrumentals from a wealth of sources including Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Irving Berlin and Phil Hey's original "Subduction." No all star excursion, the PHQ is a true, seasoned ensemble that has been exploring a common musical vision for the past five years. The quartet consists of Phil Hey (drums), Phil Aaron (piano), Dave Hagedorn (vibes) and Tom Lewis (bass). With appearances on over 60 recordings and countless live performances with the top names in jazz, Phil Hey is no stranger to Twin Cities music fans. Subduction marks the first release for Phil Hey as band leader. Showtime on October 14 and 15 is 9:00 p.m. and admission is $10. The Artists' Quarter is located at 7th Place and St. Peter St. in the Historic Hamm Building in Downtown St. Paul, telephone (651) 292-1359, website at

The Phil Hey Quartet was originally assembled around the year 2000 when Artists' Quarter owner (and fellow drummer) Kenny Horst suggested to Hey that four jazz veterans perform a "one off" gig. Needing to print the AQ's monthly calendar, Horst listed the band as the Phil Hey Quartet. Finding that they shared a chemistry and love for the hard bop material, the PHQ dug in with monthly AQ gigs and regular rehearsals to hone their unique sound. On Subduction: Live at the Artists' Quarter, the Phil Hey Quartet demonstrates a collective improvisational spirit and intense devotion to the music that proves it is, indeed, "a real band." A real experienced, talented and inspired band.

Recorded live at the Artists' Quarter on May 13-15, 2005.

Recorded and mixed by Reid J. Kruger for Waterbury Music + Sound, assisted by Matt Burr.

Produced by Kenny Horst and Al Iverson.

Design and photography by Al Iverson and Don Berryman.