August 24, 1950 – Winston Phillip was born to Hezekiah Dennis Phillip of Point and Jean Hughes of Kentish Village. His mom Jean died in 1951 thus Winston, who was known through is childhood as Vinama or Vin, was raised by his dad ‘Den Den’ and the extended family circle.
Vin who was also called ‘Winnie’ was introduced to the guitar at an early age by his grandfather Hezekiah Phillip and his father Hezekiah Dennis ‘Den Den’ Phillip, who were both accomplished, well-known musicians in Antigua. By age seven, Vin could play alongside his dad and grandfather at functions to the amazement and delight of patrons.
Winston attended the Point School. His early years included frequent visits to St. Thomas where he eventually attended High School for a period joining the school band and playing with other small bands on the music circuit.
His determination to excel at his craft resulted in his migration to the US. By 1968 Vin was honing his craft under George Benson at ‘The Jazz Mobile’ in Harlem, NYC. By 1972 Vin was guitarist with Sam & Dave (Hold on, I’m Coming & Soul Man, familiar hits) and toured extensively. He also featured with the Louis Taylor Jazz Ensemble.
Vin spent four years on tour with the Jaguars, a Caribbean Jazz band based in New York City that included other renown Antigua & Barbuda musicians: Courtney Winter, Tyrone Mason, Johnny Gomes and ‘Copper Wheel’.
During the 70s visits to Antigua included playing with the Targets. Homeland visits in the 80s and 90s would include performing on the hotel circuit either solo or with elite colleagues in ‘Vin Phillip & Friends’.
Vin was a feature act at the Rusty Rudder, Delaware for more than a decade for 6 months annually, returning to St. Thomas to perform with Caribbean Project band during the Rusty Rudder off season.
He has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe Japan and Canada as a fine-featured soloist as well as a part of jazz bands. Vin gained his international status playing with/for Elton John, John Lucien and Jimmy Hamilton. He has performed and recorded with gospel artists Andre Couch, Bobby Jones, Tata Vaga and Edwin Hawkins.
Vin has arranged, recorded, and composed for Wes Pemberton, Gordon Henderson and Richard Cassin (Paris).
He also plays Classical guitar.
Having returned home to Antigua during the covid pandemic due to the complete lockdown of the entertainment sector to be among his family, he remains on an extended stay and plays on the local circuit. He tours to neighboring islands, in particular St. Thomas.