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Album Review

This summit meeting between Niels-Henning Ørsted Pederson, one of the most widely recorded and universally respected bassists in jazz history, and guitarist Philip Catherine, an almost equally revered guitarist and perhaps the foremost keeper of Django Reinhardt's gypsy-jazz flame in his generation, should have been a much more exciting one that it turns out to be. Recorded live in a jazz club in Lausanne, Switzerland, it is unfortunately a fairly tame affair, its highlights hidden behind poor production. (The recording level is so low that you have to crank your stereo up to a painful level just to hear in detail what is going on.) Interestingly, some of the best moments on this album are the bass solos, among them Pederson's dancing choruses on "Stella by Starlight" and on his own knotty composition "The Puzzle". Catherine's playing sounds conservative, almost tentative, and the proceedings rarely catch fire. Notable exceptions include the duo's interplay on "The Puzzle" and on a blazing rendition of the Jerome Kern standard "All the Things You Are". It's by no means a waste of time, but Art of the Duo is also far from the best introduction to the work of either of these fine musicians.


Born: 27 October 1942 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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Art of the Duo, Philip Catherine
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