Saturday, December 20, 2014

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NY1's Dean Meminger profiles some of soul and R&B's greatest performers as part of his ongoing series.

Soul's Survivors: Earth, Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey Plays with 5.5-Octave Range

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In this week's edition of our "Soul's Survivors" series, NY1's Dean Meminger talks with Philip Bailey, band member of the legendary funk group Earth, Wind and Fire.

That 70's funk music sound still makes you boogie.

The band Earth, Wind and Fire stormed onto the seen 45 years ago and those elements of the musical world are still spinning.

“We are still having a great time globally making this music,” says Philip Bailey, who has been a member of the group almost from the beginning.

The specialty he was known for— hitting those high notes.

“I watch the reaction on people’s face when I hit those notes. You know, It just brings a smile to my face,” Bailey says. “I didn't really know what I had was a falsetto until I was doing a gig at a club and a music teacher came and said 'wow, you have an amazing falsetto.' I said, 'Oh, that’s what that is.'”

He said hitting high notes came naturally and he often mimicked the singing style of female vocalists he admired.

“Well you know I am originally a baritone, so I have, like, on certain days a five, five and a half octave rang. So I just open my mouth and just let it fly, so you never know what's going to happen, so I have a lot of fun with it” Bailey says.

That's what he continues to do nowadays while performing solo or with Earth, Wind and Fire.

Those unforgettable outfits and head-bouncing beats still bring joy to legions of fans who have followed the group over the decades.

"Bailey says his first love was jazz—the same with many of the other members of Earth, Wind and Fire.

Of course, it's hard to put their music in any particular category.

"I describe our music as, really, spectrum music, because it has so many genres that make up Earth Wind and Fire's music and we have always embraced all kinds of music. So it is really spectrum music, full spectrum music. Of course, the fans' favorite is 'September' and "'Boogie Wonderland,' but I think, for me, some of the songs—I really remember recording some of the songs and I remember the feelings when I recorded them. So a song called 'And Love Goes On' is a favorite song of mine,” Bailey says.

And, of course, the music goes on. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP