“TrapJazz- a cultural bridge between the old and the new of hip hop and Jazz with a rich Southern roots feel.” Phillip Mouton
Phillip Mouton is molding his legacy as a premiere saxophonist, in addition to his skills as a singer, producer, and drummer. He is the former student of legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry Ron Carter, the great saxophonist and music aficionado Gerald Johnson, and his father, pianist Carl Mouton. An alumni of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), he completed a B.S. in Music. Mouton was a member of the M4 marching band and is a current member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mouton is also a band leader for TP and The Feel, a six piece band that plays a rhapsody of contemporary, R&B, and jazz standards. A Little Rock protégé, inspired by his mentors and the legendary Art Porter, Sr. and Art Porter, Jr., Mouton is spearheading his own musical dream, ThePhilliMouExperience, his upcoming album, slated to drop soon.
As a music lover and total band geek, let me just say, you sound amazing on your instrument. How long have you played the saxophone, and do you play any other instruments?
Yes! Believe it or not, but the first instrument I learned how to play was the drums at the age of seven. I played and still do play drums at my home church St. John M.B. Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. I can sing, and play piano as well. I was born into a musical family so the music comes naturally. My grandfather is a gospel singer, my mother is a singer, and my father is a musician and a band director.
It sounds like it was inevitable for you to have a very strong musical background. Do you compose your own music?
Yes, of course, I can actually write out the music I play, but I do need help, so I collaborate with other producers to create music too. Usually when that situation happens, I become a Co-producer.
So what is TrapJazz specifically?
TrapJazz was created by me and Quincy Watson, TrapJazz, in a short version, is a hybrid—a cultural bridge between the old and the new of hip hop and Jazz with a rich Southern roots feel. All the elements of current trap music are present, with a real musician playing saxophone which is usually considered a jazz instrument over heavy trap feeling beats that have an awesome bounce.
Let’s be honest for a second here–true hip-hop is dead! So now with a new generation of listeners, the popular form of rap music has transformed into trap music. Trap music is a genre that our youth and adult hip hop listeners are using to express the current struggle of African Americans, but Americans in general. Historically, music has addressed the issues of the time(s). Musically, trap music is characterized by a distinct beat with a southern flair, and that influence has taken over the world.
How did you come up with the concept of TrapJazz?
I literally had an epiphany in my music history class in college at the greatest Alma Mater ever, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, when my professor started talking about “Western Music”. Prior to this topic in class, we’d just finished talking about eastern music or classical music (Bach, Beethoven etc.) and my professor says that Blues, Jazz, and Hip-hop are the only true American music art forms that were created by African Americans. So after further research, I found out that these genres all have the same musical DNA. I also realized I unlocked the same code that the legendary Miles Davis cracked a few years before he passed. He was trying to bridge the gap between hip hop and jazz by combining the two into its own genre. With my mixtape, IamTrapJazz, I pray that I can continue to educate the American culture through music.
I love the concept you’ve created with TrapJazz. How do you see TrapJazz growing as its own genre?
I see TrapJazz going far. The concept is simple. It is music created for us—by us. (No Fubu pun intended). I pray it is well received. Everything my culture does turns to gold. Real music never dies. Music and water are the only things us as human beings cannot live without. The goal of TrapJazz is to grow and to inspire a new generation of musicians just like blues, jazz, and hip hop has done for us already.
What do you feel is your strongest skill as an artist?
My passion for the music! It is the fuel for my engine.
How does your passion show in you artistry and work ethic?
My passion for music drives me to want to make sure everything is right, no matter how many hours or days I have to stay up to get it right, but it’s all worth it in the end when the music helps others through whatever their circumstance is. Music charms the soul, so I keep that in mind at all times. When I perform in public, by myself, or with my band, TPandTheFeel, the work ethic shows in the music because I put the time in and the band will do the same.
Where can people find more of you and your work via social media?
I have all the social media platforms. The main outlets to hear my music on:
Facebook: Phillip Mouton or TpandTheFeel fan page
Soundcloud: Phillip Mouton
Twitter handle is @Itsphillymoo
Thank you for sharing so much with us! I love your enthusiasm about your craft. Do you have any last comments?
Please keep your eyes open for my mix tape entitled “IAMTRAPJAZZ”, and my first album entitled “ThePhillimooExperience”. Also, lookout for my band, TPandTheFeel, one of the top live performing bands in the state of Arkansas! Velina Mouton and Carl Mouton thank you for all your support. I love you and all my family and my La Familia – they know they are! The Pulitzers OnQproductions and my family, Quincy Watson, and I cannot forget the ohhhhh so ice cold brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. 000006!