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Philip Catherine: Blue Prince

Glenn Astarita By

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Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine has performed with the creme de la creme of modern jazz and fusion. Noticeably inspired by the late great Django Rheinhardt, Catherine has emerged as a true stylist who melds lush romanticism with bold, simmering lines, witnessed here on Blue Prince.

The guitarist utilizes his warm-toned hollow bodied electric guitar to great effect via shrewd employment of volume control techniques, jazzy chord progressions and scathing leads, evidenced on the often blistering yet predominately cool and sleek Bop-ish burner, “Coffee Groove”. Trumpeter Bert Joris proves to be a near perfect foil for Catherine, as the twosome frequently engage in brisk unison choruses, while also trading sprightly fours during this groove-laden set primarily consisting of medium tempo swing motifs.

The band turns in a peppery walking blues, titled “The Creeper” and continues along with a series of pieces featuring amicable melodies and sonorous themes amid sympathetic accompaniment by the rhythm section. On, “Blue Prince” Joris articulates Chet Baker-style, understated lyricism as everyone gets a spot to exhibit their wares, yet a few more accelerated or rapidly paced pieces tossed into the mix might have elevated the excitement factor a few notches. Otherwise, Blue Prince is a solid and expertly executed effort, as Catherine implicitly illustrates why he is one of the finest guitarists on the globe.

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

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