PHILIP CATHERINE - Biography
Philip Catherine has been on the forefront of the European jazz scene since the sixties. He has worked with great artists like Lou Bennett, Billy Brooks, Edgar Bateman, John Lee, Gerry Brown, Jean Luc Ponty, Larry Coryell, Alphonse Mouzon, Charlie Mariano, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon, Toots Thielemans, Stéphane Grappelli, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Tom Harrell, the rock group Focus. His unique approach and sound, his dedication to music and, above all, the highly emotional lyricism of expression in his playing and in his music, have been important and influential.
Philip Catherine was born in London in 1942. Coming 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 heard George Brassens, and then started listening to all the great jazzmen of the period. Very soon he had the opportunity to meet some of them, and often play with them when they were performing in Belgium where his family had moved to by then.
In 1961, he started touring Europe with "Lou Bennett", who introduced Philip to drummers like Oliver Jackson, Billy Brooks, Edgar Bateman.
Late in 1970 Philip recorded his first album in his name as a leader "Stream" produced by the French guitarist and singer Sacha Distel.
From 1971 and for 18 months, Philip was a member of the Jean-Luc Ponty quintet with Joachim Kuhn on piano.
In 1972 he attended a twelve week summer course at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. During this period he had the opportunity to meet in Boston John Scofield, and, outside the school, musicians like Ran Blake, George Benson. He also studied with George Russell and Mick Goodrick.
In 1973, Philip went into Big Band as he took up an engagement to play in West-Berlin with Paul Kuhn and his Orchestra (SFB), which gave him a chance to work with the likes of Ake Person, Leo Wright and other great musicians.
In 1974 Philip recorded the first "Pork Pie" album "Transitory", with Charlie Mariano, Jasper Van't Hof, Aldo Romano, Jean-François Jenny-Clarck.
During the same year Philip started working with Palle Mikkelborg in Denmark and played on an album with Karin Krog.
In 1974 his second album "September Man" came out, on which Philip assigned a very important part of the project to the composing skills of Palle Mikkelborg. The rhythm section was made up of John Lee Gerry, Brown and Jasper Van't Hof with Charlie Mariano on the front line.
In 1975, he recorded "Guitars", an album with many guitar overdubs. In the rhythm section again John Lee and Gerry Brown, with Charlie Mariano on some tracks. It was produced by Marc Moulin.
Soon Jazz lovers all over the world not only discovered a brilliant guitarist, but also a talented composer. Some of his compositions like "Homecomings" and "Nairam" have become popular (Robert Wyatt recorded Nairam years later on his album "Shleep" by changing the title to Maryan).
In 1975 the record company WEA organised a record "Doldinger Jubilee" and a tour with the Klaus Doldinger "Passport" with prestigious guests. Among them the blues guitar player Buddy Guy, Les Mc Cann and Johnny Griffin,
In 1976 Larry Coryell and Philip started working and touring together as an acoustic guitar duo in many parts of the world. The idea of putting them together originated from John Lee and Gerry Brown and also the combined efforts of Claude Nobs,George Grunz and Siggy Loch,
At the end of the seventies Philip was invited to join the Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen trio, with Billy Hart on drums, to perform on many tours of Scandinavia and Continental Europe and to record a double album "Live at Montmartre" Copenhagen Jazz Club for the Steeple Chase label.
They toured in USA summer 77 and in Europe 77 and 78.
In 1980, Jean Claude Petit, The French composer, arranger, and film score writer, arranged Philip' s album "Babel" That was recorded during Philip's contract with WEA Germany. Charles Orieux had the idea to put Philip and Jean-Claude together.
In 1981 Philip put together a band with two guitars, percussion and saxophone. With Trilok Gurtu (percussions), Nicolas Fiszman (guitar and electric bass) and Charlie Mariano (sax). They recorded the album "End of August". Also done during Philip's contract with WEA Germany
In 1981 Philip meets for the first time Chet Baker for three or four gigs. It was the German agent Gaby Kleinschmidt's idea. Philip will meet Chet again later.
In 1983, Philips tours with Aldo Romano on drums and Jean-Louis Rassinfosse bass.
End of 1983, first recording with Chet Baker. and Jean Louis Rassinfosse.
In 1984 a trio with Didier Lockwood, Christian Escoudé and Philip was formed. This trio performed as a working unit for the whole of 1984 and recorded on Jean-Marie Salhani's JMS label in Paris.
1985 will be the year of Philip with Chet Baker. From January to November they tour all over Europe, mostly with the Belgian bass player Jean-Louis Rassinfosse. Later in the year the Italian bass player Riccardo Del Fra joined the trio.
At the end of 1985 Philip starts a trio with Hein Van de Geyn on bass and Aldo Romano on drums. They record together "Transparence" in 1986 (on which two additional guests: Michel Herr on synthetisers and Diederik Wissels on piano), followed by "September Sky", and "Oscar" (an album dedicated to Philip's father).
At this point,1990, the musical encounter with Tom Harrell takes place. The album "I Remember You" and the two volumes of "Moods, vol. I" & "Moods, vol. II" (in 1992) are the result of this collaboration with Tom Harrell that includes Hein Van de Geyn. It has been Jerry Teekens, Criss Cross records, to put Tom Harrell and Philip together, to the great joy of Philip.
In 1992 Philip had the privilege to tour Europe in duo with Miroslav Vitous and later in trio with Miroslav and Enrico Rava.
In 1993, Philip is invited to record with the Turkish guitar player Erkan Ogur a few tracks on Erkan's album. Peter Schulze of Radio Bremen was active in organizing this meeting. Incidentally, Philip loves working with Peter Schulze as a producer.
In 1996 Quartett Live was recorded in Holland. Cees Schrama,radio and record producer, and Heyn Van de Geyn, very much to Philip's immense gratitude, had the idea to introduce him to the wonderful Dutch piano player Bert Van den Brink. 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 (4-star rating by 'Down Beat', "best album of the year" by Jazz Nu ; and other publications..).
In 1997 Aziza Mustapha Zadeh invites Philip to play a couple of tunes on her album called "Jazziza". It is a Russian bass player on a visit to Brussels the year before who encouraged Philip to come and listen to Aziza. That's how the meeting with Aziza came about.
In 1998 "Guitar Groove" followed (with Jim Beard on piano and keyboards, Alphonso Johnson on bass and Rodney Holmes on drums), featuring twelve superb compositions by Philip and a beautiful rendering of "Stardust". The album got impressive radio airplay in the US and it broke quite exceptional for a European jazz record into the top 20 of the Gavin Jazz Chart where it stayed for several months.
In 2001 Philip has the chance to be invited by Challenge records (Holland) to record an album with Enrico Pieranunzi, Heyn Van de Geyn and Joe Labarbera.The album is called "Alone Together".
In 2003 Philip Catherine has mainly performed with his "guitar, bass and drum trio", with Philippe Aerts on Bass, and Joost Van Schaik on drums. A format he particularly likes as it gives him the rhythm support as well as freedom to unfold his wide palette of musical styles from that irresistible groovy rock sound to the broad lyrical phrases of which he is a master.
Philip Catherine has received many awards, among others: the "BIRD" Prize (1990), together with Stan Getz, at the North Sea Festival; the "Django D'Or" (1998) in Paris for 'Best European Jazz Artist'; the ZAMU 'Lifetime Achievement Award' (2001) a" from the Antwerp Conservatory (a title assigned in previous years to highly reputed artists like Jos van Immerseel, Sigiswald Kuijken and Toots Thielemans).