161

Philip Catherine: Guitar Groove

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
If you like melodic guitar-based jazz, Guitar Groove is not to be missed.

This CD is divided into two parts, one a section of seven relatively up-tempo numbers collected under the heading "Groove," the other a concise six-song segment entitled "Quiet Moments." It's a masterful effort that finds Catherine on both electric and acoustic guitars, the former on the faster cuts, the latter on some of the ballads.

A picker of Belgian and English descent, Catherine claims Django Reinhardt and Belgian guitarist Rene Thomas as his chief influences. But Catherine is no anachronism. The 56-year-old guitarist has played with Stephane Grappelli, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus and Jean-Luc Ponty, so he's equally adept with European gypsy jazz, straight-ahead jazz, and fusion.

Whether firing off a barrage of clean lines around a funky beat or rendering a ballad, Catherine is blessed with a radiant tone and a keen sense of melody. He spews forth chords and notes with a staccato linearity on the fast tracks, then he concentrates less on improvisation and more on melody with his ballads. Since 12 of the 13 tracks are originals, Guitar Groove is also a showcase for the Belgian's tuneful compositions.

Most of these cuts have a mellifluous European quality about them, and excellent support is provided by American musicians Jim Beard (keys), Alfonso Johnson (bass) and Rodney Holmes (drums), a trio that formerly backed Wayne Shorter. Beard is a versatile keyboardist and fine accompanist. At times here the chemistry between pianist and guitarist brings to mind other great guitar-piano duos such as Jim Hall and Bill Evans, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays.

The tunes in the Groove section are mildly funky and extremely nuanced, while the mellow section is just plain gorgeous. The CD includes a cool funk cut ("Merci Afrique"), the funky-bluesy title track, an upbeat shuffle ("Sunset Shuffle"), one standard ("Stardust"), three beautiful original ballads ("Here and Now," "Nuances" and "Simply"), and tributes to George Shearing ("Hello George") and Weather Report ("For Wayne and Joe”) . "Hello George" features some wonderful interplay between Catherine and Beard. Also great are "Chinese Lamp" and "Blue Bells," a couple of laid-back pieces on which Beard goes electric.

Guitar Groove is an astoundingly lyrical effort from a guitarist in his prime. It should appeal equally to fans of mainstream jazz and fusion, and to anyone who appreciates superior jazz musicianship.

| Record Label: Dreyfus Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Insufficient Funs" CD/LP/Track Review Insufficient Funs
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities" CD/LP/Track Review S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Fun with Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Fun with Notes
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!