Friday, March 24, 2006


My wife once said to me indignantly: “Can’t you play something else? It’s Andy, Andy, Andy…” Well she’ll be happy to know there is something else now: “It’s Phil, Phil, Phil…Hawkins, that is.”

Phil just dropped his new CD entitled H2O and already it’s lighting up memories of the early glory days of Andy Narell’s evolution in the San Francisco Bay Area. Andy’s absence from the Bay has been felt, but his disciples are blossoming and the panjazz is alive again in the Bay.

H2O is a mostly instrumental album that showcases Hawkins’ incredible talents as a composer and steel pan player. His extensive background as a jazz drummer is reflected in the interactive nature of the music. Hawkins’ arrangements seamlessly merge his passion for improvisation with a genuine respect for traditional Caribbean, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban grooves.

Andy’s influence on Phil’s music is evident but that’s only as the originator of that style I like to call the ‘BayPan’ sound that is present in the music of Bay Area pannists such as Pan Ramajay’s Tom Miller, and Derek Smith.

But, enough about Andy. What Phil has done in H2O is brought his own sweetness and originality to that genre. Phil is prolific, and his music is exquisite. Here’s what the music critics are saying about Phil and H2O:

“[Phil Hawkins’] music is incredible; it's imaginative, deep, fun, well arranged, and a fascinating blend of musical cultures. And . . . his band burns!”
Greg Murai - Faculty, The Jazz School, Berkeley, CA

"A cool mixture of caribbean, jazz and latin music in which Hawkins' steelpans star."
Rhonda Holman - The Eagle

"Hawkins' soloing is fabulous and worthy of note."
Lisa Rogers - Percussive Notes Magazine

In addition to his talents as a pan player, Phil is also a composer, publisher and educator. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, he earned a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music at Whichita State University.

He currently teaches World Music and MIDI and Digital Audio courses at Mission College in Santa Clara, CA. Phil's publishing company P. Note sells his compositions for steel band and several books on rhythm and pan.

Phil is currently working on putting together a full pan program for the South Bay.

Get H2O now!

Available at these sites:,,