Contemporary jazz bassist Gerald Veasley makes no claim to be a master chess player, but there are certain unmistakable parallels between his line of work and the small-scale war game that has challenged great minds for centuries. “There’s a multiplicity of decision making in the game of chess, and there are consequences to every action,” says Veasley. “In a lot of ways, making music is like that too. There are so many choices, especially in jazz, where the situation is never the same twice. That’s always exciting to me. You’re creating new scenarios at every turn – every time you step in front of an audience, or every time you step into the studio.” That same combination of challenges and opportunities is at the heart of Your Move, Veasley’s new Heads Up International release. The album is the latest – and perhaps most innovative and audacious – maneuver in the game that Veasley has been playing since his early days as an up-and-coming musician in his native Philadelphia.
Phil “Footy” Lightfoot grew up in the Philadelphia area surrounded by a host of musical influences. At a young age he knew what his calling was, to play drums. As a youth, Philip played around the Philadelphia area with other artists who shared the same calling such as Derrick Murdock and Kevin Eubanks from the tonight show, Grover Washington and Stanley Clarke whose former drummer “Daryl Brown” was a major influence and musical mentor to Phil.
After graduating from Central High school he was accepted on scholarship to the Philadelphia Musical Academy (now the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts) and placed a position of limited capacity to study under Michael Bookspan (principle percussionist with the Philadelphia Orchestra). Philip was one of the first percussionists to be awarded the prestigious “Alumni Schloarship” at PCPA. He performed with many professional organizations during this time such as the Philadelphia Opera Company, The Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as a host of shows that required pit musicians traveling through the Philadelphia area.
Phil later took a position as principal percussionist with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and became a member of the university of Delaware faculty at the age of twenty three.
After leaving the University of Delaware Philip became the drummer for Sister Sledge and briefly toured with the late George Howard. The travels with Sister Sledge landed him on stages across the country including the “Tonight Show” and many other major television shows and concert events.
Phil has written several tracks for Sledge including “Music makes me feel good” which was produced by drummer great “Narada Michael Walden” and “Smile”and produced by the “George Duke”. Phil continues to tour and do session work today.