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Philip Catherine: Guitar Groove

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Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine unites with Wayne Shorter’s most recent rhythm section (Alphonso Johnson on bass, Rodney Holmes on drums, Jim Beard on keyboards) for a split session that explores two sides of the guitarist’s makeup-groove-oriented melodies and sublime ballads.

A fully wired jazz-rock player during the ’70s, when he came under the fiery spell of fusion pioneers John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell, Catherine has tempered his high energy chops in the ’90s, going for more of a warm, pure sound on his hollow body jazz box. And while groove tunes like “Merci Afrique,” “Good Morning Bill” and “Sunset Shuffle” are far too involved and full of urgent, dissonant solos to ever be considered smooth jazz, they lean toward the Yellowjackets-Spryo Gyra-Jeff Golub camp of contemporary jazz.

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