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Philip Catherine: Summer Night

Belgium’s Philip Catherine got his start in Gypsy jazz and has played with such luminaries as Jean-Luc Ponty, Charles Mingus and Larry Coryell. Despite Catherine’s considerable talents as an improviser, for at least his last couple of projects-including Summer Night (Dreyfus), his most recent-he has persisted in mixing high-wattage fusion and more subdued straightahead playing within the same program, engaging in a kind of bipolar stylistic disconnect that is as inexplicable as it is lacking in taste and continuity.

Summer Night opens with “Tiger Groove,” an intense burner that is sonically reminiscent of John Scofield’s recent groove-based work. Soon after, however, Catherine does an about-face, playing standards like “Laura,” “If I Should Lose You” and “All Through the Day” with a clean, warm tone that leaves you scratching your head wondering what he is thinking.

Originally Published