This live quartet date was recorded in a Netherlands club, with leader/guitarist Philip Catherine, pianist Bert Van den Brink, bassist Hein Van de Geyn, and drummer Hans Van Oosterhout. Surprises crop up at every turn, even on well-worn standards like "I Fall in Love Too Easily" and "Stella By Starlight." (The latter sounds like an edited, incomplete take.) Catherine's playing is often so startling and urgent that it draws vocal hoots and hollers from the audience. Five of the ten tracks are Catherine originals, beginning with the modal, swinging "Piano Groove" and moving on to the European cadences and march feel of "Dance for Victor," the impassioned, quasi-rock balladry of "Rene Thomas," the mellow, dramatic "Mingus in the Sky," and the extended finale "December 26th." Pianist Van den Brink contributes the lilting waltz "Wondering Why," and the quartet also tackles Hermeto Pascoal's "Nem Um Talvez." On the classic "Freddie Freeloader," Catherine begins his solo with a note-for-note rendering of the original Miles Davis solo from Kind of Blue. Catherine's heavy attack and vibrato-laced phrasing continue to make him unique. But the other dominant personality on this album is Van den Brink, who sparkles on piano and adds organ textures as well as lush, Lyle Mays-like keyboard pads on several tracks, at times playing both piano and keys simultaneously.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David R. Adler