Phyllis Battle toured the world as a (post-flower power era) member of the Grammy Award-winning group, Fifth Dimension. The former legal secretary got her start 25 years ago as a back-up singer of choice for the likes of Donna Summer, Rita Coolidge, and Nancy Sinatra. Ms. Battle’s boots, it seems, were made for walkin’—at least until last week when she sprained her ankle on a Charoen Krung sidewalk.
The now bandaged diva is recovering nicely and performing six nights a week at the Oriental Hotel’s cozy, but smokey Bamboo Bar. Her surprisingly subtle voice is evocative of jazz greats like Nancy Wilson and Carmen Macrae, but is at times overpowered by the very capable Bamboo Bar band. Ms. Battle is at her best when given the room to open up and allow her very authentic takes on jazz standards to be fully expressed. Phyllis Battle is the real thing.
Naturally BK wanted to hear all of the juicy celebrity gossip, but Ms. Battle remained appropriately tight-lipped and professional, except for a passing mention of an incident involving a well-known disco-era diva, her male roadies and raw eggs.
We leave it to you to press her for the details, and remind our readers that Phyllis is here because of her first love—jazz. Requests for Fifth Dimension hits like “Up, Up, and Away,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” just might fall on deaf ears. So drop by the Bamboo Bar and lend Ms. Phyllis Battle your ears, your support, and an ACE bandage or two...