Philip Catherine and Martin Wind ‘Duo Art’ (ACT) 3/5

philip-catherine-martin-windWhen one thinks of classic duet jazz recordings, one is immediately taken back in time to the intimate musings of Bill Evans and Jim Hall, or Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron, or even the magical pairing of John Coltrane and Duke Ellington. However, bass and guitar duets tend to be overlooked and so the coming together of Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine (who has recorded among others with Chet Baker and Tom Harrell and toured with Dexter Gordon and Lou Bennett) and bassist Martin Wind is most definitely a blessing. Moreover, it is one that was no mere accident since it was actively fostered by ACT boss Siggi Loch who suggested the two pair up for a recording that he would finance after hearing them perform separately in Berlin. The combination of self-penned compositions and classic standards works well with the light, airy Brazilian feel to the tribute to British pianist George Shearing, ‘Hello George (for G. Shearing)’ being just one highlight among many. A virtuoso start to the Oscar Pettiford composition ‘Blues in the closet’ is radically different from the original and sounding all the better for it while there is intricate guitar work from Catherine on the opening number ‘Old Folks’. Catherine’s tenure with Dexter Gordon is the subject of a homage on ‘Fried Bananas’ taken at a lively pace and there are some Jarrettesque grunts that attests to the joy of performing together here. A lesser known Paul McCartney piece ‘Jenny Wren’ is treated to a gentle and resposing interpretation. Aside from the odd electric fusion guitar which sounds a little out of place here, this can be strongly recommended to all fans of acoustic jazz guitar. Tim Stenhouse