What's Hot with Jazz Guitar: Philip Catherine

by Doc Dosco

This week we feature the amazing Belgium jazz guitarist Philip Catherine.

Online bio:

Philip Catherine has been on the forefront of the European jazz scene
since the sixties. His work with great artists like Chet Baker, Larry
Coryell, Tom Harrell, NHOP, Stéphane Grappelli, Charles Mingus, his
unique approach and sound, his dedication to music have been important
and influential.

Philip Catherine was born in London in 1942. Being from a musical family
(his grandfather was first violin with the London Symphony Orchestra),
he developed a musical ear from an early age. He took up the guitar
after having discovered Brassens and Django Reinhardt, and started
listening to all the great jazzmen of the period. Very soon he had the
opportunity to meet some of them, and often accompanied them when they
played in Belgium where his family had moved to by then. At the age of
18 he toured Europe with Lou Bennett and in 1971 Jean-Luc Ponty asked
him to join his quintet. In 1974-75 he made his first records under his
name, "September Man" and "Guitars". Jazz amateurs the world over
discovered not only a brilliant guitarist, but also a talented composer:
themes like "Homecomings" and "Nairam" have become famous.

The success of his appearances with some leading European big bands, and
in recent years also more frequently with chamber orchestra's, have
reveiled that his lyrical compositions are particularly apropriate for
arrangements for larger ensembles.

Philip Catherine has received many awards, among others the "BIRD" Prize
( 90 ), together with Stan Getz, at the North Sea Festival and the "Django
D'Or" ( 98 ) in Paris for 'Best European Jazz Artist', and recently the
ZAMU 'Lifetime Achievement Award'. In November 2002 he will receive the
title "Maestro Honoris Causa" from the Antwerp Conservatory (title which
has been given previous years to reputed artists like Jos van Immerseel,
Sigiswald Kuijken and Toots Thielemans).

In 1997 Philip Catherine signed with Dreyfus Records. His first album on
this label - simply called "Live" (being the very first 'live' recording
of his career) has been highly acclaimed by the international press
(4½-star in Down Beat, "best album of the year" in Jazz Nu ; etc..). It
was followed in '98 by "Guitar Groove" (with Jim Beard on piano and
keyboards, Alphonso Johnson on bass and Rodney Holmes on drums), which
features twelve superb compositions by Philip and a beautiful rendering
of 'Stardust'. The album got impressive radio airplay in the USA and -
very exceptional for a European jazz cd - it broke the top 20 of the
Gavin Jazz Chart where it stayed for several months. The Cd "Blue
Prince" (nov 2000) received very enthusiastic acclaim from the press :
"Record of the Year", in 'JazzMan' and was selected among best album of
the year in many magazines and newspapers. It shows again that Philip
Catherine may be counted among the great jazz artists of our time.
Philip Catherine's new album "Summer Night" , in trio/quartet, with
Philippe Aerts on bass, Joost van Schaik on drums, and Bert Joris on
trumpet, will be released in October 2002 on Dreyfus Jazz.

In '98, in the Belgian jazz referendum organized by Belgian radios RTBF
and VRT, Philip CATHERINE was elected best Belgian and European electric
guitar player, and in the Belgian jazz critics poll (French speaking),
best Belgian electric guitar player and best European acoustic guitar

Philip Catherine's new website:

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in
Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com ,
where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar'
columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc
endorses Heritage Guitars and is a featured artist on their website.
He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

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