Catherine Philip, irreparable guitar enthusiast

He is the guitarist, the jazz player that the whole world envy us. Philip Catherine will celebrate his 80th birthday on the same day, October 27, with an exceptional concert at Flagey. He who discovered guitar with Brassens, and then swings with Django Reinhardt, remains a huge lover of melody and groove.

This is one of the events of this musical autumn: Philip Catherine celebrates his 80th birthday In concert in Flagey, October 27. As a good habit, because he did the same thing, in the same place, five years ago, which led to an album, “75 Live at Flagey,” just released.

what . represents Like this event? “I don’t think about it, actually. That record was just released, so we have to try to do better.”

Thats all about it. More than sixty years ago – He started playing guitar when he was 14 – Philip Catherine is constantly improving.

In a way, he feels obligated: “I have to play guitar every day, because I have a disability in musical note recognition. I didn’t learn and I don’t have an ear for music. When I was young, I had a hard time.” Get to know the notes that Django was playing. “

When we don’t study music theory and practice it formally, in school or in private, this is how we do it: we listen to recordings, like those in Django Reinhardt, whose game we are trying to copy. like django,Ray Charles It is very difficult to imitate it, because it is very complex, but very beautiful and harmonious, like most of the great musicians. “

33 laps in 16 laps

Philip may be slow at recognizing tones, but not at recognizing chords: “Networks, it got into your head right away.” This has not only drawbacks: “I listened to 33 rpm at 16 rpm, lower octave, but who cares. By listening to something you love, you absorb a lot of things that you wouldn’t notice if you understood them right away.”



“It is very difficult to imitate Ray Charles, because he is very complex, but very beautiful and fair, like most great musicians.”

Philip Catherine

guitar player

If young Philip holds the guitar, it is George’s fault, George Brasens Pardi, the first guitarist he ever heard: “I didn’t know this instrument and I was attracted by this beautiful melody of Brassens, and something special about its rhythm. That’s how I bought a guitar.”

Her second guitar, it is there, in her apartment in Saint-Gilles with a view of the passing trains at the North Midi Junction, a place one colleague once described as “improbable housing“, ce qui amuse toujours beaucoup Philip. Pour acheter cette Gibson ES 175, que Toots Thielemans surnommait la “Madame jazz”, Philip est revenu, fin 1960 ou début 1961, place Anneessens, pas loin d’où il a habité 7 12 years old.

At the American Pavilion, Expo 58

His first steps as a musician, were taken by Philip Catherine on the occasion of Expo 58 in Brussels. In the American Pavilion – a circular building that still exists – color TV was shown.

The musicians were invited to pass in front of the cameras. “You appeared with Microgrove record called minus oneUnderstanding the rhythm we can play on.”

At the same time, in the American Pavilion, a certain Daniel Hammer There is also as a guest. The Swiss drummer is already known internationally, he is 20 years old, while Philip is still only 16 years old.

“I was with my father. Daniel Hammer told him I should come and play with him and the pianist Harold Kaufman to me The Black Rose, the little jazz club on the Rue des Bouchers. He told her, “Your son should come and play his guitar and subwoofer.” It was awesome.”

The adventure of Black Rose does not stop there: “I make two or three pieces with them, and the saxophonist arrives, who had played in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Sony State! He was playing like Charlie Parker, and that was my first jam! “

after two years, Quincy Jones He repeats “Free and Easy” with his first big band. In training, given Spence Stand out on the guitar.



“When they say I taught myself, it is both true and false, because I was able to play with a lot of musicians when I was young.”

Philip Catherine

guitar player

“He just set a record with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges, ‘Back to Back.’ And there, at Black Rose, I also learned a lot when I saw Les Spann a meter ahead of me! So when they say I’ve taught myself, it’s true and not true, he points out. Philip Catherine, because I was able Play with a lot of musicians When I was young.”

Quick shot of Erroll Garner

With a restraint, he then gets up to replay the video he was watching earlier,”Errol Garner Live in 1964‘, thirty-five minutes of pure musical bliss. Philip absorbed Catherine at once, moving in front of his screen as if he himself were accompanying Garner on guitar.

“You’ll see, he’d do something impossible here… With him, there is no effort, is clear anyway. Errol Garner, we don’t recognize his talent. It’s unbelievable. He died young at the age of 47. It’s impossible to play like this! “

impossible? Not Philip Catherine! Keen to keep improving, in the early seventies, he jumped at the chance to go for it Berklee College of Music in Boston, the passage place of the best musicians. We meet teachers of the caliber of trumpeter Herb Pomeroy or guitarist Mick Godric.

During this three-month stay, in 1971, Philip took lessons in harmony and theory, “but I did not take guitar lessons, because I found thatThey were playing traditionally This did not interest me. It’s ridiculous of me.”

George Benson in the kitchen

Still in Boston, while he was going to buy a small subwoofer at a record store, he met a certain person. George Benson, the guitarist with whom the current passes instantly. “He came to my house for two days, and we played in the kitchen, that was fine. That was before he got too big of fame thanks to ‘Breezin’.” The incomprehensible things attracted me. Plus George Benson is a pure axiom. That was my school, I played with these people.”



“I thought for a long time about making a living from my studies. At the age of 50, I said I might as well be thinking of being a musician.”

Philip Catherine

guitar player

Philip Catherine played with them and many others for a long time, recording great albums While he always thought of making his living in another way, thanks to his studies in economics for example. But, unlike today, “When I started on stage, there were no guitarists: Tots was in New York and Rene Thomas in Montreal. But I thought for a long time about making a living through my studies. At 50, I said I thought maybe a musician” .

Larry and Chet

During this long career, the guitarist who is the envy of the whole world has surpassed the jazz elite, as the guitarist Larry Corel, who made amazing duets with him. He is also a trumpet player Chet Baker And the album “Crystal Bells” (Igloo 1983) as a trio with Jean-Louis Rassenfoss on double bass.

“He played unimaginable shit, with great style and dexterity. It was a gift from heaven. Django had that talent. Someone else couldn’t read or write, hey.” There is room for ambiguity over here.”

Django is here, django is there, django from start to finish, album title “Manoir de mes rêves” (2019), CD “Young Django” (1979) with violinist Stephane Grabelli who accompanied the brilliant Gypsy in the glorious era. From Five of the hot club in France… Django Reinhart sounds like the common thread: “It’s an unusual example, but there are things I don’t do like Django: not coming to play at the expected time. Stefan was tired of it, it was a nightmare for me for him. And Django did the trick to Duke Ellington!”

  • Album “75 Live at Flagey”, Out Note, Outhere Music.
  • The 80th Anniversary party is on Wednesday 26 October in de Roma, Antwerp, on Thursday 27 October in Flagey, Brussels (all sold out), and on Saturday 29 October at the Cultural Center in Hasselt.

selective photography

Philip Catherine on 5 tablets

  • “Steam” (1972) with Marc Moulin, electric piano, Freddy Deronde, bass and Freddy Rothier, drums.
  • “Twin House” (1976), in a duet with Larry Correll.
  • “The Trio” (1983) with Christian Escudi, guitar, and Jean-Luc Ponty, violin.
  • “Côté jardin” (2012) with Nicolas Andreoli, piano, Philippe Aerts, double bass, Antoine Pierre, drums.
  • “New Folks” (2014), in a duet with Martin Wind, bass voice.

candid organic

Philip Catherine in five dates

  • 1912: The Titanic sank on April 15. His grandfather was scheduled to take him to his mother on April 10, but he missed the start …
  • 1942: The birth of Philip Catherine, October 27, to an English mother and a Belgian father from Borinage.
  • 1960: European tour with American organist Lou Bennett.
  • 1971: French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty entered the quintet.
  • 1998: Django d’or in Paris as Best European Jazz Artist.

#Catherine #Philip #irreparable #guitar #enthusiast

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