Todd Phillips is the bassist of choice for many of the most innovative, as well as traditional, acoustic instrumental and bluegrass recordings made since the mid-1970s. A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music’s finest and most creative artists. His tone, timing, and subtly intricate bass lines make him one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass, and he is among the very best practitioners of the instrument on the scene.
Along with Tony Rice and Darol Anger, Phillips was a founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet. He spent five years playing both rhythm mandolin and bass with the group. He then spent another five years with Rice in The Tony Rice Unit. Rice and Phillips also worked together with J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Jerry Douglas in the now classic bluegrass recording group; The Bluegrass Album Band – producing six albums over fifteen years. Since then, Phillips has had the opportunity to work with a virtual “who’s who” of acoustic music’s finest, such as Vassar Clements, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, John Hartford, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, Darrell Scott, Larry Campbell, John Doyle, Dirk Powell, Tara Nevins, and has performed in venues from Royal Albert Hall in London, with Joan Baez, to The David Letterman Show with Elvis Costello.
In 1983 Phillips received his first Grammy Award for his work with The New South (Crowe, Skaggs, Rice, Douglas) in a live concert recording; “Bluegrass – The Greatest Show on Earth”. Also in ’83, he finished his critically-acclaimed first solo recording; “Released” (Varrick Records), featuring Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Darol Anger and John Reischman. Throughout the 1980s, Frets Magazine readers voted Phillips five Readers Poll Awards for “best jazz” and “best bluegrass bassist”.