Saturday, July 16, 2016

Jan Garbarek Quartet - 1970 - Afric Pepperbird

Jan Garbarek Quartet 
Afric Pepperbird

01. Skarabée   6:16
02. Mah-Jong   1:53
03. Beast Of Kommodo   12:23
04. Blow Away Zone   8:38
05. MYB   1:51
06. Concentus   0:50
07. Afric Pepperbird   7:58
08. Blupp   1:08

Jan Garbarek – tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, clarinet, flute, percussion
Terje Rypdal – guitar, bugle
Arild Andersen – bass, thumb piano, xylophone
Jon Christensen – percussion

Recorded September 22/23, 1970 at the Bendiksen Studio, Oslo

Even the most perfunctory ECM listeners will have encountered, if not participated in, the heavy criticism laid into the label’s apparently gossamer aesthetic. Despite the fact that ECM and its handful of brilliant engineers have been at the forefront of advancements in sound and postproduction for decades, all of that talent is dismissed by detractors. Enter Jan Garbarek, an adventurous musician if there ever was one. As one of ECM’s undisputed champions, Garbarek continues to come under great fire for his metamorphosis from muscular Norwegian free jazz giant to purveyor of saccharine “New Agey-ness.” Some blame old age, others an encroaching cowardice or laziness toward music-making, and in doing so show an utter disregard for the wide variety of projects Garbarek has continued to involve himself in over the years. Of course, I cannot be so hypocritical as to explain away the debate through claims of misinformed listenership. It may simply be a matter of preference. Still, I wonder where all this trolling stems from, the clear disrespect for a passionate musician and the sound he has spent decades honing to a craft. We bash Garbarek for “ruining” choral masterpieces in his fruitful collaborations with the Hilliard Ensemble (to say nothing of the latter’s willingness to continue working with him), yet seem to have no problem hearing a snippet of Mozart or Vivaldi being used to sell or raise the prestige of a product that didn’t even exist until centuries later. I will go out on a limb here and opine that behind the blatant disinterest in this lone man’s playing is a fear of coming face to face with musical honesty. Garbarek makes no compunctions about his melodies, lays them out on the table freshly dissected, and in an era bent on fleshing out often paltry musical skeletons with overcompensating effects, perhaps his stripped-down stylistics appear to fall flat. This isn’t to say that ECM doesn’t put its own fingerprint on every release at the mixing board, but to me these augmentations stem directly from the heart of the music being recorded rather than force the music into a box it never inhabited to begin with. For Garbarek, this often means a spacious wash of reverb, whereas for an artist like Dave Holland it means a rawer sense of immediacy.

Like any artist, Garbarek has changed with time and, yes, with age, but already in Afric Pepperbird, his first album for ECM and one that would instigate an unbreakable association with the label, he invites us into a world that is at once playful and mature. Half of the album is made up of miniatures, “Skarabée” and “Mah-Jong” being the most precise and delicate among them, laced as they are with Christensen’s distinctive cymbal work and overall compositional sensibility; “MYB” and “Concentus” are simply gorgeous asides and drop like seeds into the album’s already fertile soil. Andersen’s steady bass line assures us the title track can swing with confidence, pouring on the Saharan charm like fresh honey, while “Blow Away Zone” features an adventurous Rypdal and an ether-wrenching solo from Garbarek, who squeezes his way through an opaque tornado of bass and drums. Clocking in at twelve-and-a-half minutes is “Beast Of Kommodo,” a patient and rewarding romp of gargantuan proportions. Garbarek gives his all for this one, mixing saxophonic roars with fluted reveries with equal conviction. The set bows out with “Blupp,” a smile-inducing froth of percussion and vocals that doesn’t so much describe its title as demonstrate it.

This may very well be, along with Witchi-Tai-To, the quintessential Garbarek album for those who normally don’t care for his style. Whatever your taste in jazz, whatever your opinion on Garbarek and the label he calls home, this is a spirited and robust effort worthy of your attention.

And a happy weekend for the people that requested this one!

Oriental Wind & Karnataka College Of Percussion - 1985 - Sankirna

Oriental Wind & Karnataka College Of Percussion 

01. Sankirna 7:05
02. Bahagya 8:27
03. Bitlis 3:44
04. Aurun 8:51
05. Fidayda 7:17
06. High Fly 4:50

Acoustic Bass – Stefan Brolund
Drums – Okay Temiz
Ghatam – R. A. Rajagopal
Goblet Drum – Okay Temiz
Kanjira – T. N. Shashikumar
Mridangam – T.A.S. Mani
Piano – Bobo Stenson
Soprano Saxophone – Lennart Åberg
Tenor Saxophone – Lennart Åberg
Vocals – R. A. Ramamani

Recorded & mixed at Sonet Studios,
October - November 1984, Stockholm.

Okay Temiz, widely recognized as the bee's knees of Turkish jazz percussionism (if that's even a word), teams up with his band Oriental Wind and the Karnataka College of Percussion from Bangalore, India to create a song that, if nothing else, is quite useful for frightening small children on Halloween. But someway or other keeps getting repeat plays over here!

Oriental Wind - 1983 - Life Road

Oriental Wind 
Life Road

01. Griot Song 6:35
02. Azeri 3:05
03. Gide Gide 7:00
04. Veli Aga 3:37
05. Ababa 5:03
06. Hungarian Gypsy Song 3:41
07. Çargah Sirto 5:11
08. Life Road 6:43

Acoustic Bass – Teddy Walter (tracks: A2)
Bass – Mats Alsberg
Drums, Talking Drum, Berimbau, Cowbell, Percussion [Kalibas], Congas, Bells [Finger Bells], Strings [Tuned Sticks] – Okay Temiz
Electric Bass – Teddy Walter (tracks: A1)
Synthesizer [Rhodes Croma] – Harald Svensson
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Lennart Åberg

Initial copies included a giant (58 x 87 cm) poster of cover motive.

Recorded and mixed at Europa Film, June 1983, Stockholm.

Oriental Wind - 1982 - Live In Bremen

Oriental Wind
Live In Bremen

01. Batum 12:40
02. Tamzara 6:30
03. Kabak 9:45
04. East Trip 8:40

Double Bass – Bronislav Suchanek*
Drums, Berimbau – Okay Temiz
Electric Guitar – Lelle Kullgren
Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Lennart Åberg

Recorded October 28th, 1981 Packhaus Theater, Bremen

Oriental Wind - 1981 - Bazaar

Oriental Wind 

01. Pazarda Balvar 5:06
02. Savsat Bari 4:05
03. Karsilama 5:45
04. Bitlis Melfani 5:09
05. East Trip 3:18
06. Köcekce 4:16
07. Daldalan 6:36
08. Kadioglu Zeybegi 4:54

Percussion [Indian Tuned Sticks] – Okay Temiz
Electric Guitar – Janne Schaffer
Piano, Drums [Gattam] – Bobo Stenson
Synthesizer – Björn J:son Lindh
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bells [Finger Bells] – Lennart Åberg

Recorded January 21st-25th, 1981 at Studio Marcus, Stockholm.

Okay Temiz was born in Istanbul in 1939. He grew up in Ankara and received his musical education as a drummer and percussionist at the conservatory there. He felt a pull towards a kind of global musical idiom at a very early stage. After completing his studies, Temiz was compelled to earn his bread by playing in Turkish show and dance bands. Nonetheless, he dedicated his spare time to studying his kindred musical spirits.

Temiz finally found what he was looking for in Stockholm. Not, as one might expect, among Swedish jazz musicians, but among the Africans and Afro-Americans who had settled in that northern metropolis. More specifically, it was Okay Temiz who was found. Don Cherry, a pioneer of global musical thought, took notice of the Turkish drummer with the unusual ideas. The drummer thus gained admission into quite an illustrious circle comprising musicians such as: Mongezi Feza, Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana, Harry Miller (i.e. a large majority of McGregor’s “Brotherhood of Breath”), as well as Palle Danielsson and Charlie Mariano, all of whom were in one way or another concerned with introducing melodies and rhythms from the far corners of the earth into jazz.

Along the years, Okay Temiz was involved in numerous musical projects. To mention a few,  the Turkish-Swedish band Sevda which enjoyed much popularity in Scandinavia, Oriental Wind existing in two editions: a Swedish one and a Turkish one. It was the latter that helped him explore the point of departure for his own version of ethno jazz.  Oriental Wind became a kind of springboard for Temiz, for he toured widely with the band, appearing in India (as in 1980 at the Jazz Yatra Festival in Bombay) and at festivals all over Europe and making a distinguished name for himself.

To the present day, Okay Temiz has remained true to his ideals of an Orient-Occident fusion.  In 1999, he recorded  the album Karsilama with “drums beating and trumpets sounding” (or, more correctly, with davuls beating and zurnas sounding).  undertook a similar process in Finland in 1995 with his MAGNETIC BAND, a Scandinavian-Turkish quintet. This would later lead to the album Magnetic Orient (2002). Here as well, the strains of the Orient (the Turkish dulcimer kanun and the Turkish lute oud) join western (jazz) instruments such as the trumpet and the electric bass and Temiz’ percussion instruments from the many regions of the globe in a breakneck rhythm slalom to achieve a fusion of the music of the Balkans and the Turkish-Arabic region with jazz, rock and Latin: a course ideally laid out for the master drummer!

Oriental Wind - 1979 - Zikir

Oriental Wind

01. Suzinak Semai (Aksak Semai) 4:11
02. Mus 5:15
03. Kabak Tatlisi 3:03
04. Zikir 7:52
05. Çay Elinden 6:22
06. Demek Istiyorum Ki...(Ferahfeza) 2:34
07. Ege 3:47
08. Dolunay 7:27

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Doudou Gouirand
Bass, Bass Guitar – Thomas Ostergren*
Drums, Berimbau, Percussion [Talking Drums, Log Drum], Cuica – Okay Temiz
Ney – Akagunduz Kutbay*
Piano, Synthesizer – Tuna Otenel*

Recorded and mixed at Studio Ramses, Feb 1979.
"Thanks to Antoine De Caunes, Remy Kolpa, Don Cherry."

Okay Temiz is the most important and first fusion jazz artist from Turkey. I saw him live. He's very talented, but modest in a way as well. His style nowadays has adaptations from ethnical sources from all over the world, but he also adapted jazz and even free jazz style into its most pure essence. Most albums I heard were fine, but non of these are over the top from start to end. Okay himself found "Green Wave" a fine introduction for his own music. I had a very interesting interview with him. It's linked as text file at the end.

I have his item "Zikir" from 1979. It is an ethnojazz which has very good moments and is good overall. Zikir is Okay Temiz with Aka Gündüz, Tuna Ötenel, D.D.Gouirand, Onno Tunç. Here he used the Double-string electric berimbau. This instrument featured the addition of separate microphones and signal processors for the string, gourd and caxixi. His technique involved using as many as nine signal processors simultaneously in conjunction with a free-hand grip, which allowed the left hand to slide the coin farther up and down the string, producing many more than the traditional two pitches. By amplifying each part of the berimbau, Temiz could exploit other possibilities, such as tapping on the gourd with the coin, fingers and stick, successfully producing traditional Turkish rhythm. The effect of it is tremendous.

Oriental Wind - 1979 - Chila-Chila

Oriental Wind 

01. Chila-Chila 5:53
02. Karasar Zeybegi 7:31
03. Estergon Kalesi 6:06
04. Kabak 7:33
05. Julu Kara Nayni 9:57
06. Cökertme 2:45

Alto Saxophone – Tuna Ötenel (tracks: A1 to B1)
Bass – Thomas Östergren
Drums, Percussion – Okay Temiz
Piano – Bobo Stenson
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Lennart Åberg

Recorded at Studio 39, Copenhagen, on March 29th and 30th, 1979, except B3 recorded at the Metronome Studio, Stockholm, June 9th, 1979.

1979 Sonet Records [on labels]

Oriental Wind is a duo made up of Lennart Aberg and Okay Temiz. Okay Temiz is a world known percussionist from Turkey. Actually he is much better known around the world. Main reason has been his style. He makes a fusion between ethnic music and avantgarde jazz. This puts him in a weird position as far as Turkey is concerned since his repertoire is not well suited for the still developing Jazz listener audience of Turkey.

Temiz has collaborated with many top artists of his genre with the main being Don Cherry. For this album, Bobo Stensson featured in piano, Tuna Otenel has joined forces with his Alto Saxophone, Lennart Aberg came along with his flute and on top Thomas Ostergren supported on the bass.

The album consists of Jazz versions of ethnic songs from Turkey as well as Africa. an interesting thing is that the rhythmic scale of all the tracks are written beside the track names. Since some of them are quite challenging for a European ear (Especially Turkish ones with 9/4, 9/8 rhythms), this has been a good clue.

I don't really know the two ethnic songs from Africa, but the Turkish ones are quite famous old songs. The arrangements are quite interesting to hear. Two of them are arranged by Stensson, one by Aberg while the rest is the work of Temiz.

Tuna Otenel creates marvels in "Karasar Zeybegi" while "Estergon Kalesi" seems to be the power struggle between the finesse of Bobo Stensson and Lennart Aberg.

These are arrangements and therefore bits and pieces of the original melodies/tunes can be found in them. This makes the whole process even more intriguing. On top, the talents involved create a show which is absolutely a pleasure to listen. It felt like a cold morning breeze after a heated summer night.

Oriental Wind - 1978 - Live In Der Balver Hohle

Oriental Wind 
Live In Der Balver Hohle

01. Tamara Delihoron
02. Fidayda
03. Dere Geliyor Dere
04. Les Noto

Bass – Thomas Östergren
Drums, Percussion, Berimbau, Arranged By – Okay Temiz
Flute, Bagpipes, Baglama [Saz] – Haci Tekbilek
Photography By – Hans-Hermann Schneider
Piano – Bobo Stenson
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Lennart Aberg

Recorded June 25, 1978 at 5. Jazzfestival Balver Höhle

A while ago one of our visitors requested this album, I had it on a cassette tape, but have never seen an LP or CD of it... I searched all over the internet but could not find a copy or a friend that had it... So I digitized the old cassette, so the sound might not be the best. But... what an album! What a performance! Everyone is on fire! And if someone out there has a better sounding version I beg you please share it with us!

Oriental Wind - 1977 - Oriental Wind

Oriental Wind
Oriental Wind

01. Tamara-Delihoron 10:15
02. Fidayda 4:35
03. Les Noto 4:30
04. Dere Geliyor Dere 13:17
05. Sari Kiz 6:22

Bass – Palle Danielsson
Drums, Percussion, Berimbau, Kalimba [African Finger Piano] – Okay Temiz
Flute, Bagpipes, Baglama [Saz] – Haci Tekbilek
Piano – Bobo Stenson
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Lennart Åberg

Recorded on April 16th and 17th, 1977 at Metronome Studio, Stockholm, Sweden.

A breed of interesting ethnic jazzy-fusion. The deserty storms of the esoteric deserts are generated by flutes, saxes and even a surprise appearance of bagpipes. It all creates some wonderful imagery once these complex rhythms start pounding away under the windy atmosphere. What i find annoying is that some of the songwriting here stumbles on the stone of pedestrian "academic" jazz. You know, these are the predictable and long acoustic piano solos that you've heard on every jazz record. Be more flexible guys!

Bands like Embryo and even Missus Beastly could make their keyboards explore much more creative ground, since they enabled more interaction/variation between the instruments. I prefer the last two tracks here, the piano player there isn't as prominent as he is in the beginning and the tracks have less conventional jazz and Swedish folk hints as well. An exiting, but somewhat marred scenery of Eastern exoticism.

Okay Temiz - 1980 - Drummer Of Two Worlds

Okay Temiz 
Drummer Of Two Worlds

01. East Breeze 4:36
02. Penguin 3:54
03. Galaxy Nine 5:56
04. Savsat Bari 2:42
05. Repercussions 4:40
06. Drummer Of Two Worlds 5:06
07. Sipsi 4:30
08. Ocean Roller 3:44
09. Fantasia Drive 6:48

Baglama [Saz] – Arif Sag* (tracks: A1)
Cowbell, Bells [Sheep Bells], Percussion [Thavil], Goblet Drum, Percussion [Quicca], Bongos [Moroccan], Woodwind [Frog Call], Berimbau, Percussion [Gourd], Talking Drum, Percussion [Log-drum], Bells [Finger Bells], Strings [Indian Tuned Sticks], Flute [Bamboo], Percussion [Flexotone], Zither [Valiha], Jew's Harp, Strings [Gopijantra], Brass [Air Horn], Bells [Tree Of Bells] – Okay Temiz
Drums, Bongos – Akay Temiz (tracks: A1, A2, B2)
Percussion [Kalebas] – Akay Temiz (tracks: A1, A2, B2), Okay Temiz
Synthesizer – Atilla Özdemiroglu* (tracks: A1)
Woodwind [Mey], Woodwind [Zuma] – Ziyaettin Aytekin* (tracks: A4, B1, B2)
Woodwind [Sipsi] – Okay Temiz, Ziyaettin Aytekin* (tracks: A4, B1, B2)

A2, A3, A4, B1, B2 recorded April 28-29, 1980 and A5, B4 recorded July 1-2, 1980 at Metronome Studio, Stockholm
A1, B3 recorded summer 1975 at Studio Sat Yapim, Istanbul
Label says "Made in Turkey by Melodi Records"

Born in Istanbul in 1939, Okay Temiz was influenced early by his mother, Naciye, who was classically schooled in music. Playing professionally since 1955, Temiz studied at the Ankara Conservatory and at the Tophane Art Institute to learn to build his own unique instruments. After meeting Maffy Falay and Don Cherry, he settled in Sweden; with Cherry and bassist Johnny Dyani he toured the U.S. and Europe (Live in Ankara, Sonet 1971). The group Xaba, with Dyani and trumpeter Mongezi Feza, was founded in 1972 (Rejoice, Cadillac 1972; Music for Xaba, Sonet 1972; Music for Xaba 2, Sonet 1979).

In 1974, Temiz created his own Oriental Wind, widely using Turkish instruments such as ney and gayda (played by Haci Tekbilek), zurna, kaval, ud, saz, and sipsi. For some performances, his mother joined the group. He always featured Turkish musicians in order to help them gain international recognition, and kept strong ties with his homeland; his all-star CD Zikir (Ada 1981) features the great ney player Aka Gündüz, pianist Tuna Otenel, and top bassist/arranger Onno Tunc, while Karsilama (Ada) is a glorified, exciting version of the percussion/zurna music accompanying wedding parties in Western Turkey. In 1991 and 1992, he released Fis Fis Tziganes (Label La Lichere) with a group of gypsy musicians from Istanbul, and Green Wave (Uzelli); in 1993, with his Magnetic Band (Ano Kato, 1995), he added South African rhythms to his palette.

After living for almost 30 years abroad, the new, more open cultural climate and the crop of younger musicians coming up motivated him to return to Turkey in 1998. He has a very intense schedule of teaching and performing there, often guesting in the most prestigious orchestras or creating his own projects that feature his invented instruments, like the hand-made copper drums, the Magic Pyramid, and Artemiz made with camel and sheep bells.

Philip Catherine - 1980 - Babel

Philip Catherine 

01. Babel 6:20
02. Janet 6:10
03. Riverbop 4:48
04. Spirale 5:00
05. Philip À Paris 5:44
06. Magic Ring 3:44
07. Dinner-Jacket 3:34

Electric Bass – Jannick Top
Guitar, Synthesizer [Guitar Synthesizer], Vocoder – Philip Catherine
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Jean-Claude Petit
Viola [String Quartet] – Pierre Llinares
Violin [1, String Quartet] – Pierre-Yves Defayes
Violin [2, String Quartet] – Roger Berthier

A jazz fusion album produced in an extremely clear transparent sound. Catherine (guitar) is supported by Jean-Claude Petit (keyboards, synth), Jannick Top (bass) Andre Ceccarelli (drums) a string ensemble and on the very personal track "Janet" by the voices of his little daughters. All in all mostly relaxed but engaged and interesting playing (mainly by Catherine and Top)

Philip Catherine - 1975 - Guitars

Philip Catherine 

01.We'll Find A Way (John Lee) 5:08
02.Five Thousand Policemen 1:56
03.Sneezing Bull 7:10
04.Rene Thomas 4:41
05.Moss And Weeds 1:14
06.Homecomings 5:47
07.Charlotte (Charlie Mariano) 3:52
08.Noburl 8:13
09.Isabelle 1:45

Philip Catherine – electric & acoustic guitars, classical guitar, banjo, electric bass, piano, tarang, 12–string guitar
John Lee – bass
Jasper van't Hof – piano
Gerry Brown – drums
Charlie Mariano – soprano & alto saxophones
Rob Franken – string ensemble

Philip Catherine (born 27 October 1942) is a Belgian jazz guitarist. He was born in London from an English mother and Belgian father. He began playing in the 60's with Lou Bennett then with Dexter Gordon and Stéphane Grappelli. He was then a member of Jean-Luc Ponty quintet, right after he recorded his first album (Stream, produced by Frenchman Sacha Distel) in 1971. A year later, he met John Scofield, Ran Blake, George Benson and more musicians in Boston. In 1977 Philip Catherine replaced Jan Akkerman in the Dutch rock group Focus and appeared on one album with the group, Focus con Proby which also featured American singer P. J. Proby. He also played with Charlie Mingus (who named him Young Django) and Chet Baker. He is now considered as the grandfather of Belgian jazz as he continues to play on the now very active Belgian jazz scene. He won the first Belgian Golden Django (in 1995) as best French-speaking artist.


Philip Catherine has been called the "Young Django" by none other than Charles Mingus, and upon hearing his elliptical, rapid-fire, expressively melodic acoustic guitar, there can be no doubt as to whose records he was absorbing as a youth. Born to a Belgian father and English mother living in London during World War II, Catherine went back with his family to Brussels after the war, where he learned guitar and turned professional at 17. The examples of Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin led Catherine into jazz-rock; he played with Jean-Luc Ponty's Experience from 1970 to 1972 before taking a year off to study at Boston's Berklee School. Back in Europe in 1973, he founded the band Pork Pie, which recorded into the mid- and late '70s; he also formed a duo with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and worked with such musicians as Mingus and Stephane Grappelli. If anything, Catherine is best-known in America for his duets with Coryell, which began spontaneously in Berlin in 1976, triggered some lovely duo albums for Elektra, and helped steer Coryell back to the acoustic guitar.

It’s not that Philip Catherine feels misunderstood, underappreciated or neglected by the American jazz scene. Born in London during World War II and raised in Brussels by his English mother and Belgian father, he’s widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s foremost guitarists, a supremely eloquent improviser whose five-decade-long career encompasses an eclectic array of highlights. What irks Catherine is that the work he feels best represents his musical vision is largely unknown and unheard. “My first four records, September Man, Guitars, Babel and End of August, are my most personal albums, and nobody knows them,” says Catherine, 67, from his home in Brussels. “They’ve been hidden for too long. I have a legal advisor and I’m trying to find a way to have them come out again.” Catherine’s recording activities in 1975 exemplify the way in which sessions under his own name have faded from view, while his superlative sideman work continues to win him new fans. It was the year he recorded Guitars, an intricately constructed, fusion-tinged session featuring multiple guitar overdubs and accompaniment by bassist John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown. (Alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, a regular Catherine collaborator over several decades, also contributes on several tracks.) Focusing on Catherine’s original compositions, the album is unlike anything else from the era, with its quiet but roiling drama and sly, lapidary textures. The same year, he appeared on several memorable SteepleChase albums, including Kenny Drew’s Morning with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and Dexter Gordon’s Something Different with Pedersen and Billy Higgins, a fascinating addition to the saxophonist’s discography as his only piano-less quartet session. Through the rest of the decade, he released a series of strangely beautiful albums under his own name, melodically charged sessions that defied easy categorization as fusion or straight-ahead. At the same time he was recording regularly for SteepleChase, contributing his marvelously poised and rhythmically assertive work alongside Drew, Pedersen, Higgins, Sam Jones and Tootie Heath. “That was one aspect of my music, making albums for SteepleChase, but it wasn’t at all what I was trying to do,” Catherine says. “I was doing Guitars, but it’s disappeared, and everyone knows SteepleChase. I loved playing with Dexter and Kenny, but it was like old music for me. ”If Catherine has been hard to pin down stylistically, it’s not only because a significant chapter of his career is out of circulation. Many American jazz fans discovered the guitarist through his work with Larry Coryell, a brief association that was born from an impromptu duo set at Berliner Jazztage in 1976. Their obvious chemistry led to the popular Atlantic album Twin House (and later Splendid, on Wounded Bird Records), and many still think of Catherine as a fusion-era standard bearer. He did pick up the mantle in the mid-1970s, when he replaced Jan Akkerman in the Dutch prog-rock band Focus. While well past its “Hocus Pocus” heyday, Focus still featured the intricate, often elaborately inventive compositions of organist/flutist Thijs van Leer. And while totally unexpected for Catherine, the gig did put him on the prog-rock/fusion map—a location he never really felt he belonged in. “It was strange for me, like entering a different world, with less improvisation and roots more in classical European music and rock,” Catherine says. “As opposed to mine in classical music and black American music—Miles, Coltrane, Erroll Garner, James Brown and jazz in general, including Django. It was a world with so much equipment, roadies and managers; a great opportunity but I really was not ready to enter the group at that time. I couldn’t reach the singing tone of the guitar enough, though that tone may have been an enduring influence on my sound.” Much like Coryell, Catherine has always been game for acoustic and electric settings, straight-ahead swing, postbop or fusion, whether collaborating with European masters or American jazz giants like Charles Mingus. He connected with the legendary bassist after Mingus saw a film of him and Coryell from Montreux and recruited the two guitarists for 1977’s Three or Four Shades of Blue. For Catherine, who grew up listening to Mingus Dynasty and Mingus Ah Um, the opportunity to play with a hero proved to be tremendously fulfilling, personally and musically. “After the session everyone left but me and Mingus,” Catherine recalls. “He was very warm with me. I started telling him about Mariano. We had someone in common. He was very curious, and was trying to find out who I was. I came back two days later for the next session with Ron Carter and John Scofield. I was so happy to meet Dannie Richmond. He had a very bright, special way of playing.” When Three or Four Shades came out, Catherine found himself described by Mingus in the liner notes as the “Young Django,” a tag that stuck for some time, though the praise never sat comfortably with him. (“It’s exaggerated,” Catherine says. “Django is very deep, not just as a guitarist but as a musician. Now I would be the old Django.”) But it never became a burden, and several years later he recorded the marvelously swinging album Young Django with Coryell, Pedersen and Stephane Grappelli. The association with Belgium-born Reinhardt was probably inevitable, though the Manouche master wasn’t Catherine’s initial guitar inspiration. Catherine bought his first instrument at 14 while under the sway of the great French poet and singer George Brassens. His first guitar teacher taught him the rudiments of improvisation, and that’s when he encountered Reinhardt’s music. Catherine absorbed his elliptical phrasing and gift for melodic invention while also finding much to emulate in the great Belgian guitarist René Thomas, who had returned from the States after recording with Sonny Rollins and playing with Stan Getz, Miles Davis and Jackie McLean. Catherine quickly found his way to hard bop, devouring albums by Art Blakey, Clifford Brown and Max Roach, and got a first-rate bandstand education playing with Hammond B3 expert (and American expat) Lou Bennett and drummer Oliver Jackson. Catherine was still a teenager when he made his first recording, playing on an album by Belgian tenor saxophonist/arranger Jack Sels. Days later, they were on the road to Holland, where the Sels quartet opened for Thelonious Monk in Amsterdam. He continued his rhythmic education during a year working with Edgar Bateman when the late Philly drum master lived in Brussels. “I was very lucky to play with those guys,” Catherine says. “Bennett and Jackson and Bateman gave me something I never forgot: this groove, this enormous groove that they had.” Despite a growing reputation and regular work, Catherine didn’t envision himself making a career in music. Devoted to his studies in philosophy and economics, he figured he was destined for a life in business or the bureaucracy until the fall of 1970, when Jean-Luc Ponty took a minute off from his gig with Frank Zappa and sent Catherine a letter asking him to join his group. So at 28, Catherine took the plunge. Deeply interested in the paths blazed by John McLaughlin and Coryell, he immersed himself in Ponty’s fusion, spending a year with the electric violinist. After all his years in school, he finally had an opportunity to study music during a three-month summer session at Berklee. Upon returning to Belgium, his career accelerated through the 1970s as he forged a vast web of connections with artists on both sides of the Atlantic. His relationship with indefatigably creative altoist Charlie Mariano crystallized in 1974, when the Euro all-star band Pork Pie released its first album, Transitory, featuring Dutch pianist Jasper van’t Hof, French bassist Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Italian drummer Aldo Romano. An intermittent relationship with Chet Baker culminated in 1985, when Catherine spent the year touring across Europe with the trumpeter and Belgian bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse. “Chet had great chops and was playing fantastic,” Catherine says. “He wasn’t fucked up that year.” The guitarist allied himself with another lyrical trumpet master in 1990, when he recorded the Criss Cross album I Remember You with Tom Harrell and Dutch bassist Hein van de Geyn. The trio regrouped for the label two years later for two melody-besotted sessions, Moods volumes 1 and 2. His latest album, Concert in Capbreton (Dreyfus), is another sublimely lyrical excursion, recorded live with longtime collaborator Van de Geyn, Italian piano great Enrico Pieranunzi and the always sensitive Joe La Barbera, who honed a light, interactive touch on the kit as a member of pianist Bill Evans’ last trio. Concentrating on standards like “My Foolish Heart” and “Speak Low,” the quartet also explores Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice” and Richie Beirach’s “Broken Wings.” The album follows up on 2001’s acclaimed Alone Together (Challenge), a session organized by Van de Geyn. “I like to improvise in a melodic way, and I succeeded sometimes on Capbreton,” Catherine says. “I liked the interplay. It’s about trying to tell a story, but you don’t know the meaning of the story.” Still in prime form, Catherine has no shortage of laurels to rest on. He’s won just about every major European jazz honor, including the Django D’or for Best European Jazz Artist, the ZAMU Lifetime Achievement Award from the Antwerp Conservatory and the Bird Award (now the Paul Acket Award) from the North Sea Jazz Festival. Creatively, he’s always kept one hand dipping in the American wellspring, drawing inspiration from artists like Coltrane, Wynton Kelly and Herbie Hancock. But he rarely appears on Stateside bandstands, a source of abiding frustration. He’s not complaining, just wishing for a little trans-Atlantic love. “When I had a chance to play with the great American musicians, I always felt comfortable,” Catherine says. “A big part of inspiration comes from them. What astonishes me is that people will say that I’m so European. What does that mean? It’s so strange. I think, ‘You don’t notice that I’m trying to play American?’ I regret I don’t have more chance to play in the States. Maybe I don’t deserve it; I don’t know. I would like to be known better there. That’s ego. I cannot be bitter at all. I’m playing everywhere in Europe. I’m very grateful I can make a living.”

Philip Catherine - 1974 - September Man

Philip Catherine 
September Man

01. Nairam 4:30
02. Nineteen Seventy Fourths 9:44
03. T.P.C. 4:30
04. September Man 0:30
05. When It Is The Beginning 5:59
06. When It Is The Middle 10:00
07. When It IsThe End 2:43
08. Monday 13 2:05

Bass – John Lee
Drums – Gerry Brown
Guitar – Philip Catherine
Piano, Organ – Jasper Van't Hoff
Saxophone, Flute – Charlie Mariano
Trumpet – Palle Mikkelborg

Philip Catherine has been on the forefront of the European jazz scene since the sixties. His work 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 1971 he made his first record under his name, “Stream”, followed in 1974-75 by “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.

He has played in the most prestigious concert halls, from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Carnegie Hall, from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam to the Olympia and Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels, but still loves to play in jazz clubs from time to time, because of the direct communication with the audience.

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 US 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.

“Summer Night” (Dreyfus, 2002) - in trio/quartet with Philippe Aerts on bass, Joost van Schaik on drums, and Bert Joris on trumpet - contains six new compositions, a beautiful re-take of ‘Janet’ and six standards. It shows again that Philip Catherine may be counted among the great jazz artists of our time.

The success of his appearances with some leading European big bands, and in recent years also more frequently with chamber orchestra’s, have revealed that his lyrical compositions are particularly appropriate for arrangements for larger ensembles. This lead to the collaboration with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra (BJO), and in april 2005 Philip Catherine’ album “Meeting Colours” (Dreyfus) was released, with superb arrangements of his music for guitar and big band by trumpetplayer/arranger Bert Joris. Recorded in January together with theBJO, who are the favorite band of great musicians like Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider and who were the first european band to be elected in the 2004 Downbeat Critics Poll.

In 2006 Philip Catherine participated on the album “Passage” of the group Soledad, dedicated to the music of composer Frédéric Devreese (among others famous for his filmscores for André Delvaux, Hankar, etc) and released on EMI/Virgin Classics, which received great acclaim in the press.

That same year he also gave some concerts in duo with the french guitarist Sylvain Luc. It turned out to be a magic encounter and the two artists decided to work together on a regular basis.

Philip Catherine’s regular touring band remains his Trio which is very much appreciated by any kind of public (the jazz fans, the young ‘standing audiences’, the more classical public, etc..), a formula he particularly likes as it gives him the rhythmic 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.

In 2007, parallel to his tours with his trio, quartet and collaborations with Soledad, Sylvain Luc, sympyhonic orchestra’s etcetera, Philip Catherine prepared a new guitar solo program. The beauty of his compositions really stands out in these arrangements. Philip, surrounded by his guitars and his pedal-rack, fascinates his audience and gets great response.

His cd “Guitars Two”, the first solo album of his carreer, was released in 2008 on Dreyfus Jazz and is hailed in the international press as one of his best albums.

In April 2010 a new album was released, “Live at Cap Breton”, of an exceptional concert together with an all-star line-up: Enrico Pieranunzi (p), Hein Van de Geyn (b), Joe LaBarbera (dr).

Philip Catherine - 1971 - Stream

Philip Catherine

01. Memphis Talk
02. November
03. Un Ecossais Dans Une Chambre Noir
04. C. Et D.
05. Bass Line
06. Jeux Interdits
07. Cloitre Des Célestins
08. Stream
09. Foire
10. Face
11. Give It Up Or Turn It Aloose
12. Let's Put It Like This

Bass – Freddy Deronde
Drums – Freddy Rothier
Electric Piano – Marc Moulin
Guitar – Philip Catherine
Trombone – Giggs Whigham

Recorded 1970 to 1971, Paris.
Producer – Sacha Distel

Philip Catherine has been called the "Young Django" by none other than Charles Mingus, and upon hearing his elliptical, rapid-fire, expressively melodic acoustic guitar, there can be no doubt as to whose records he was absorbing as a youth. Born to a Belgian father and English mother living in London during World War II, Catherine went back with his family to Brussels after the war, where he learned guitar and turned professional at 17. The examples of Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin led Catherine into jazz-rock; he played with Jean-Luc Ponty's Experience from 1970 to 1972 before taking a year off to study at Boston's Berklee School. Back in Europe in 1973, he founded the band Pork Pie, which recorded into the mid- and late '70s; he also formed a duo with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and worked with such musicians as Mingus and Stephane Grappelli. If anything, Catherine is best-known in America for his duets with Coryell, which began spontaneously in Berlin in 1976, triggered some lovely duo albums for Elektra, and helped steer Coryell back to the acoustic guitar.

Stephane Grappelli, Philip Catherine, Larry Coryell, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - 1979 - Young Django

Stephane Grappelli, Philip Catherine, Larry Coryell, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen 
Young Django

01. Djangology
02. Sweet Chorus
03. Minor Swing
04. Are You In The Mood
05. Gallerie St. Hubert
06. Tears
07. Swing Guitars
08. Oriental Shuffle
09. Blues For Django And Stephane

Bass – Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen
Guitar [Left Channel] – Larry Coryell
Guitar [Right Channel] – Philip Catherine
Violin, Piano (8) – Stephane Grappelli

Album is credited as Various Artists: "Young Django" on the spine.
Recorded: January 19-21, 1979 in Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik, Stuttgart/West Germany.
That's Larry's and Stephane's voice (in that order) after "Swing Guitars" and Larry talking before the "Blues".

Lately the music of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt has been appearing in movie soundtracks. For example, Minor Swing is in both Chocolat and as the lead track in the movie Town and Country. As a result people are rediscovering their music.If you are interested in exploring their music this CD is a wonderful place to start. It is a true classic and one of Grappelli's best. Stephane Grappelli was the king of the Jazz violin from his twenties till he died in his late 80's, a reign of over 60 years. He and Django Reinardt were the founders of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, the most influential group in European Jazz history. Stephanes music has a wonderful joyful youthful exuberance, and he has improved as he has aged. On this album , he was only age 71, and he was in his prime. Here he teams up with Philip Catherine (young Django) and Larry Coryell on guitar, and Orsted-Peterson on bass. All of the tracks are good, all except 4 and 5 are great. All in all one of the greatest Jazz Violin albums ever. Highly Recommended.

Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine - 1978 - Splendid

Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine

01. One Plus Two Blues 5:17
02. Snowshadows 3:29
03. Transvested Express 5:20
04. Deus Xango 5:27
05. My Serenade 4:54
06. No More Booze 3:43
07. Father Christmas 2:39
08. A Quiet Day In Spring 4:02
09. The Train And The River 4:48

Acoustic Guitar [6-string, 12-string] – Larry Coryell
Acoustic Guitar [6-string, 12-string], Electric Guitar [Fretless] – Philip Catherine

Piano – Joachim Kühn (On 4)

Recorded in Hamburg in February '78 at Rüssl Studio.

2nd album by this magnificent guitar duo: American Larry Coryell and Belgian Philip Catherine, both established virtuosi with impressive record, who cooperate here to combine their talents in order to create a whole, which is even greater than the sum of its parts. Although both guitarists are mostly known for their activity in Jazz-Rock Fusion, this album presents them in a Jazz setting, partly acoustic and partly electric. The result is a beautiful conversation of two Masters, both technically and aesthetically awe inspiring. The music on this album was written by Coryell and Catherine, but they also play one Astor Piazzolla composition (on this track the German piano giant Joachim Kühn appears as a guest) and a striking version of a Django Reinhardt tune. Guitar enthusiasts will find this album essential listening, but it is most interesting to every Jazz lover. This album was unavailable for so many years and seeing it back in circulation is a great pleasure. This is surely one of the most essential guitar albums out there!

Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine - 1977 - Twin House

Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine 
Twin House

01. Ms. Julie 5:26
02. Home Comings 5:56
03. Airpower 4:00
04. Twin House 4:54
05. Gloryell 7:16
06. Nuages 5:18
07. Twice A Week 4:40

Bonus Tracks:
08. Dance Dream 5:26
09. Snowshadows 3:29
10. Deus Xango 5:28
11. My Serenade 4:54
12. Father Christmas 2:39
13. The Train And The River 4:51

Larry Coryell: GUitar
Philip Catherine: Guitar
Joachim Kuhn: Piano

Tracks 1 to 8 recorded 1976 at Olympic Sound Studios, London, tracks 9 to 13 recorded 1977 at Rüssl Studios, Hamburg.
Track 8 previously unreleased.

The first of two fine guitar duet recordings with Phillip Catherine. Of the two, Catherine's sound is more rooted in the tradition of Django Reinhardt and tends to be more introspective. Coryell is his usual incorrigible self; however, Catherine's presence seemed to inspire more experimentation and intelligent playing on Coryell's part. As expected, this session will appeal primarily to guitarists -- and for good reason, as both players exploit their chops -- but it should be noted that the compositions here are quite memorable. Whether soloing over one riff ("Mortgage on Your Soul"), playing the blues ("Twin House"), or showing off ("Airpower"), this is an excellent collaboration and one of Coryell's most ambitious performances.
1st album by this magnificent guitar duo: American Larry Coryell and Belgian Philip Catherine, both established virtuosi with impressive record, who cooperate here to combine their talents in order to create a whole, which is even greater than the sum of its parts. Although both guitarists are mostly known for their activity in Jazz-Rock Fusion, this album presents them in completely acoustic setting, exchanging riffs, chords and ideas. The result is a beautiful conversation of two Masters, both technically and aesthetically awe inspiring. The music on this album was mostly written by Catherine, but they also play one Keith Jarrett composition and a striking version of a Django Reinhardt tune. Guitar enthusiasts will find this album essential listening, but it is interesting to every Jazz lover. This album was unavailable for so many years and seeing it back in circulation is a great pleasure. Enjoy!

Focus - 1996 - Live At The BBC

Live At The BBC

01. Virtuous Woman (10:58)
02. Blues in D (3:46)
03. Maximum (14:01)
04. Sneezing Bull (7:46)
05. Sonata for Flute (2:48)
06. House of the King (3:15)
07. Angel Wings (5:39)
08. Little Sister/What You See (8:18)
09. Hocus Pocus (5:49)

- Thijs Van Leer / vocals, organ & flute
- Bert Ruiter / bass, vocals
- Philip Catherine / guitar
- David Kemper / drums

If this album is purchased without the expectation that it's going to contain any of the wonderful baroque 'n' roll that Focus produced on their first 4 studio albums then you're in for a treat. Fans of Brand X, UK and the funkier jazz-rock fusion of the seventies should get something out of this anomaly for sure. Ironically, the two earlier Focus classics featured here sound the most out of place on this hour long live set. There's not even a hint of a guitar solo on the compulsory Hocus Pocus which concludes the performance and is played at such a fast tempo that it gives the impression that the band had a plane to catch.

After the shock departure by guitar maestro Jan Akkerman on the eve of a tour of the UK in early '76 the band had to scramble to find a new guitarist. Fortunately they managed to find someone who could match and in some ways surpass Akkerman. For those who were around in 1976 it was becoming evident that there were a lot of changes taking places with progressive rock bands by mid-decade and even Focus' previous 1975 album Mother Focus reflected a move towards more streamlined shorter compositions. Fortunately, instead of continuing on with the simplification route that so many prog rock ''dinosaurs" were taking, Focus decided to re-invent themselves ( partially out of necessity ) and recruited a guitarist with a technical background who could maintain some sophistication in their music as well as breathing some new air into their sound if they were going to survive the uncertainty that confronted them at the time. In his mid 30s, Philip Catherine was no novice and was already was dabbling in electric jazz having just previously released a fusion album with Americans John Lee & Jerry Brown as well as more traditional material with Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty.

Just as keyboardist / flutist / vocalist / leader Thijs van Leer had brought out the sterling qualities in guitarst Jan Akkerman with his compositional prowess and musical insight, he did the same here with Catherine who makes no attempts to emanate Akkerman with the only real memory of Akkerman being an early Focus single, House Of The King written by him which dates back to 1969. And this is what really saves Focus from becoming a monumental catastrophe, literally re-focussing by replacing the old guitar genius with a new guitar genius. Although it was a hurried thing ( a testament to all 4 individual musicians' versatality ) it worked out and not only did Catherine contribute his own material ( 5 tracks here don't even appear on any Focus album ) Van Leer throws in a reworked Bach sonata that recaptures a bit of the earlier years and serves as a buffer track, releasing the tensions that were beginning to build just prior to Akkerman's departure et viola a fresh sound.

Almost certainly because of contractual obligations the Focus name had to be retained, so fans at the time had to either accept the change in style or consider them in an entirely new light. Because this is a posthumous release that first appeared on CD in 1996 it can be considered on it's own merits along with a number of ''what ifs". As I mentioned before this is as good as any of the quality fusion jazz being released at the time with a tendency to sound more British than American ( Catherine was half British half Belgian ). Remember one must also to take into account the lack of preparation time ( a matter of a couple of weeks) for the band to make a drastic transformation in style and concept. What has to also be stressed that it is nothing like the atrocious forthcoming Focus Con Proby featuring the out of place vocals of American R&B singer PJ Proby ( what was Van Leer thinking? ) which put Focus into stasis for the next quarter of a century save for a reunion concert in 1990. Apart from wordless vocals, yoedeling on Hocus Pocus and scat style accompaniments on the opening Virtuous Woman, Live at the BBC is devoid of any conventional vocals. Two instrumental tracks from Focus Con Proby composed by Catherine ( Sneezing Bull & Angel Wings ) are featured here as well, the latter recalling some Mahavishnu sensibilities.

Exceptional musicianship displayed by a re-focussed Focus that in retrospect demystifies a lot about the band during the lost years in between Mother Focus and Focus Con Proby. Essential for any admirers of the present Focus and for those who are still wondering what happened just after Jan Akkerman quit the band so suddenly in early '76. Not to be written off.