Philip Catherine has had a major impact on the lineage of jazz guitar, working over the course of years with Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Larry Coryell, Tom Harrell and many more. He has appeared on memorable Dreyfus albums with Chet Baker (Chet Baker in Bologna) and Stephane Grappelli (Live 1992). His tenure as a Dreyfus solo artist began in 1996 with the invigorating Live. His sixth Dreyfus effort, Guitars Two, is his very first solo-guitar project, a conversation with himself if you will, involving multi-tracked acoustic and electric instruments and an inspired crop of original and interpreted compositions.
While the title Guitars Two is a reference to Catherine's 1975 Atlantic album Guitars, this project is arguably more reminiscent of his landmark guitar-duo projects with Larry Coryell, Twin House and Splendid. The album has a pared-down and organic feel, with soaring melodic arcs and challenging harmonic frameworks, not to mention a world of sonic creativity. The building, overlapping textures of Pendulum" and Etude Pour Peter S"; the elegant bossa nova of Bois Le Baron" and Lendas Brasileiras"; the breezy waltz tempos of Jacobien" and John Lewis's classic Skating in Central Park"; the dream-like chordal backgrounds of Toscane" and Pourquoi," the streamlined jazz balladry of Merci Philip" and Aria de Opereta": these are examples of Catherine's artistry at its most intimate and refined.
Hailing from Bayonne in the Basque region of southwest France, Sylvain Luc is one of today's most compelling acoustic guitar stylists. On Young and Fine he reunites with the remarkable musicians of Trio Sud -- bassist Jean-Marc Jafet and drummer Andre Ceccarelli. The trio's 2000 debut, simply titled SUD, garnered much acclaim in the States and led to several all-star European tours. Their third Dreyfus recording (Luc's sixth overall), Young and Fine takes its title from a lovely composition by a recently departed European jazz legend, Austria's Josef Zawinul. With their rendition of Young and Fine," made famous by Weather Report, Luc and the trio capture all the joy and sophistication of Zawinul's music while adding their own distinctive interpretive stamp.
While Luc may be the lead voice here, Trio Sud is very much a collaborative effort. Four of the 13 tracks on Young and Fine are Jafet's compositions. One is by Ceccarelli, and three are by Luc, including the harmonically mysterious ballad Renaissance" and the alternate-tuned solo guitar piece Imperfect Tune." As on his previous releases, Luc weaves a complex web of acoustic-electric sound, nylon- and steel-string textures, showcasing his own music, venerable jazz standards, classics of modern jazz repertoire and even well-chosen items from the pop realm.
Luc made his Dreyfus debut in 2000 on Duet, an unforgettable session with fellow guitarist and Dreyfus artist Birli Lagrne. He also appeared as a guest on Lagrne's acclaimed DVD Live Jazz Vienne, displaying his deep roots and creative capacity within the Gypsy jazz idiom. Unwavering in his commitment to jazz tradition, Luc is also a modernist adept at pushing past stylistic boundaries -- an attitude he shares with his fellow members of Trio Sud, and something richly evident on Young and Fine.
Luc has made several recent high-profile appearances in New York, including a special Make Music New York showcase sponsored by the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, as well as a September 2007 tour with harmonica wizard Olivier Ker Ourio (also featuring Richard Bona and Lionel Loueke). Luc is also soon to reunite with Birli Lagrne for a new recording, and the two will make a very rare appearance in early 2009 at the Library of Congress.
Founded by Francis Dreyfus, Dreyfus Records has long been a leading documentarian of international jazz guitarists, with an extensive catalog of recordings including Luis Salinas and Tisziji Munoz in addition to Sylvain Luc, Philip Catherine and Bireli Lagrne, as well as blues guitarists Lucky Peterson and Jimmy Johnson.