All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

153

Philip Catherine: Blue Prince

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Following up on his more aggressive Guitar Groove release, Philip Catherine presents a more varied, but no less lively, approach on his newest Dreyfus CD, Blue Prince. Working with a like-minded musician, trumpeter Bert Joris—who in some respects is his foil—Catherine and he share an instinctive ability to cut to the heart of a tune and personalize it. Working in tandem or solo as the relatively short tracks proceed from statement to elaboration, Catherine's quartet effectively makes its musical point and moves on to the next number.

Possessing a multitude of talents that have formed from multiple influences, Catherine on Blue Prince displays the breadth of his talent, which remains fresh and innovative after more than 30 years in the business. Less well known than American guitarists backed by larger labels owned by media conglomerates, Catherine's lack of accessibility to North American jazz listeners is remedied by Dreyfus' loyalty to his energetic and technically impressive style.

Having been born in London, Catherine's parents chose to return to his father's native country, Belgium, where he grew up. Having been inspired, as were most other guitarists, by Django Reinhardt, Catherine chose to remain in Europe. He carved out a reputation there with the continent's top musicians like Stephane Grappelli, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Kenny Drew and Jean-Luc Ponty. Catherine's duo work with Larry Coryell led Coryell to move on to further remarkable guitar duo recordings with John Scofield, Emily Remler, Joe Beck and John McLaughlin. And it's obvious on Blue Prince that Chet Baker's influence on Catherine remains, Joris' lyrical and bright approach to ballads is a reminder of the work on the Baker/Catherine album, Strollin'.

All of those influences converge on Blue Prince, each track quite different in attitude and execution from all of the others. The opening number, "Coffee Groove," develops the edginess implied by the name. Catherine's racing but controlled electric guitar work brings forth lines seemingly developed more for horns than guitar. Then, Catherine takes charge of the tune, bleeding pitches and altering dynamics before Joris comes in to squeeze out long tones before bop-derived sixteenth-note flurries.

In contrast, the next tune, "Global Warming," emerges from Catherine's and Joris' low-register half-note movement before Catherine takes up the urgency of the theme with melodic persuasiveness through self-accompaniment.

And yet, even after two tracks, the totality of Catherine's expansive concept isn't complete. The quartet moves into "With A Song In My Heart," which Catherine plays in a rich acoustic straight-ahead fashion without embellishment or deviation from the strength of the song itself. The quartet does the same thing when they perform Eubie Blake's "Memories Of You" later in the album, another of their get-in-and-make-your-point-and-get-out, no-frills jewels that pack loads of content into a short performances.

Yet another facet of Catherine's character is revealed on "The Creeper," whose chorus employs modified Wes Montgomery voicings before it dissolves into eloquent solos. "The Postman," on the other hand, is a breezy number allowing the musicians to stretch out as the bass walks and the guitar talks and the trumpeter chalks up another sweet and convincing improvisation combining eighth notes and eighth-note triplets. "Sweet Lorraine" ends Blue Prince in an easy swing employing I-VI-II-V changes at the repeat. Bassist Van de Geyn takes the lead on the tune as Catherine lightly backs him up. Finally, that clear, assured guitar sound comes in to complete the diversity of styles presented on the album.

Catherine has managed to blend all of his seemingly disparate interests into a compelling whole on Blue Prince, a complete summary of his vast talents.

Track Listing: Coffee Groove, Global Warming, With A Song In My Heart, The Creeper, The Postman, More Bells, Memories Of You, Kwa Heri, Blue Prince, Arthur Rainbow, Magic Box, Sweet Lorraine

Personnel: Philip Catherine; guitars: Bert Joris; trumpet, bugle: Hein Van de Geyn; double bass: Hans Van Oosterhout; drums

Title: Blue Prince | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Dreyfus Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Philip Catherine - Selected Works 1974-1982

Philip Catherine -...

Warner Music France
2017

buy
Côté Jardin

Côté Jardin

Challenge Records
2012

buy
PHILIP CATHERINE plays COLE PORTER

PHILIP CATHERINE...

Challenge Records
2011

buy
Philip Catherine Quartet - Concert in CapBreton

Philip Catherine...

Dreyfus Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read In Real Time CD/LP/Track Review
In Real Time
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Freebird CD/LP/Track Review
Freebird
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read The Dream Thief CD/LP/Track Review
The Dream Thief
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Heuristics CD/LP/Track Review
Heuristics
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read "Cut The Dead Some Slack" CD/LP/Track Review Cut The Dead Some Slack
by Doug Collette
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Technicolor Paradise: Rhum Rhapsodies & Other Exotic Delights" CD/LP/Track Review Technicolor Paradise: Rhum Rhapsodies & Other Exotic...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 26, 2018
Read "Země" CD/LP/Track Review Země
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Say" CD/LP/Track Review Say
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 30, 2018