“A local treasure,” says Eric Paulsen, anchor of WWL TV’s top rated morning show in New Orleans. “Phillip is in a class by himself,” this from Richard Bourcier of Jazz at a Glance. After a sold out performance with trumpeter and film composer Terence Blanchard at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Manuel sang the wordless melody as if it were a prayer. His ethereal high tones suggested Bobby McFerrin, his sensuous low ones, Billy Eckstine.” From New York to Los Angeles, from Portugal to Paris, Phillip Manuel has graced the world’s stages with some of the biggest stars in jazz. His voice has been described as dramatic, warm and full of soul. One critic said his voice charms and seduces and his range sounds effortless.
While Phillip counts many singers with inspiring him, he says his ultimate role model as a singer is his father. And if coming from a gene pool of highly talented singers wasn't enough, Phillip was fortunate to grow up on the same block with the Nevilles. "After my father, Aaron was really my first mentor," said Phillip, talking about the legendary Aaron Neville. Phillip recorded his first record when he was 16, called Will you marry me girl? It was around this time that Phillip would meet legendary New Orleans song writer, Allen Toussaint who began to use him as a background vocalist on various projects including Patti Labelle and Chicago blues man, James Cotton. Phillip would go on to work with other artists like Fats Domino, Dr. John, Aaron Neville and the Meters.
Manuel released his first jazz disc, A Time for Love, in 1992 on the AFO label. In 1996 Manuel received a call from trumpeter and film composer Terence Blanchard. Manuel would subsequently be featured on two world tours with Blanchard. Phillip would go on to work with Nicholas Payton, Ellis Marsalis, Jon Hendricks and a host of other jazz greats.
In 1999, Phillip recorded and released a Christmas CD called “Swinging in the Holidays.” His work with Blanchard and his growing body of recordings soon caught the ear of the MAXJAZZ label out of St. Louis. He signed with the label and In 2001 released the much acclaimed, Love Happened to Me.
Phillip is also an accomplished actor, writer and sought after voice over talent who can be heard on video productions and local and national radio and television commercials. Phillip Manuel’s first love, though, will always be singing, and he continues to perform both locally and around the country.