Philip Catherine – Guitars Two – Dreyfus Jazz

by | May 9, 2008 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Philip Catherine – Guitars Two – Dreyfus Jazz FDM 46050369152, 54 min. ****:

Philip Catherine has been an important guitarist on the European jazz scene since the 60s.  He was born in London to a musical family and took up the guitar after hearing George Brassens.  He is presently based in Belgium. His previous Dreyfus album was Meeting Colours of 2005, featuring some of his lyrical compositions in arrangements for guitar and big band. This new CD is the first unaccompanied solo album of his career and may be one of his best.

Its title comes from Catherine playing both acoustic and electric guitars on the 13 tracks.  While the majority of the tunes are by Catherine, there are five by others, including one from Stephane Grappelli and another from John Lewis. All of them share a singing tone and a lack of annoying electronic “screaming.” The electronic guitar tracks have a distinctive sound that may involve overdubbing.  They sound nothing like the usual overly-intense jazz electric guitar solos one generally hears.  On some the sound is as though one is hearing a guitar duo.  Yet the electronic overlay doesn’t sound gimmicky or overdone as with some guitarists. This is lyrical melodic stuff for relaxed listening.  It’s altogether a most enjoyable solo guitar session that doesn’t lack a bit for there being no other instruments involved.

Toscane, Blis le Barin, Méline, Lendas Brasileiras, Pendulum, Pourquoi?, Merci Philip, Aria de Opereta, Etude pour Peter S., Souvenirs de Villingen, Jacobien, Skating in Central Park, Marc Moulin on the Beach.

 – John Henry

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