Philip Catherine, lyrical compositions that divide the unconscious
Philip Catherine is a jazz guitarist with a legendary touch who was born in London on 27 October 1942 from a Belgian father and an English mother. He is widely recognised as one of the greatest guitarists in Europe, an extremely skilled improvisation artist whose career, spanning decades, includes a very varied range of highlights.
From a family of musicians (his grandfather was the lead violin in the London Symphony Orchestra), he developed a musical ear at a very young age. It was in Brussels, where his family moved in 1948, that he immersed himself in the world of jazz. He took up the guitar after discovering Brassens and Django Reinhardt at the age of 13. Very quickly he had the chance to meet great musicians of his time and often played with them when they were in Brussels. A professional guitarist already at the age of 17, he toured with artists such as Lou Bennett, Dexter Gordon, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chet Baker, Tom Harrell and many more. In 1961, he was 19 when he made his first recording that marked the start of an incredible career that led him beyond our borders.
Since the 1960s, Philip Catherine has been at the cutting-edge of European jazz. He has recorded more than 20 albums in his own name and worked with: Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Stéphane Grappelli, and more. The secret to his success: his open mind, his touch unlike any other, his ear for music and lyrics, and the unequalled clarity of his sound, not to mention his slightly surreal humour. With disks such as "September Man" and "Guitars" in the 1970s, jazz fans around the world not only discovered a skilled guitarist but also a talented composer.
He has performed in the most prestigious concert halls, from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, to Olympia and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, not to mention the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels. But he enjoys playing in jazz clubs just as much where he likes to be close to the public.
Philip Catherine has received many awards, including the "Maestro Honoris Causa" from Antwerp Conservatory in 2002 and the "Best International Guitarist" award at the "Echo Jazz Awards 2016" in Hamburg. His most recent album was released in February 2019: “La Belle Vie” by the Emmanuel Bex, Philip Catherine and Aldo Romano Trio.
© Photo: Wim Van eesbeek