Philip Catherine is an eclectic guitarist, comfortable within tradition, but just as comfortable fusing tradition with newer elements. On Meeting Colours, he's joined by quite a large orchestra to interpret ten of his pieces (two compositions receive more than one treatment) and Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood." The multiple flutes and saxophones create a big sound that ranges from grand to silky smooth, working in tandem with Catherine and trumpeter Bert Joris' leads. The large assembly also leaves ample room for subtly complex arrangements with trombones, trumpets, and clarinets. Catherine's compositions also offer intriguing nuances, as with the opening of "Happy Tears," allowing for changes in tempo and mood. The performance of compositions like "Pink Circus" and "On the Ground" are tastefully subdued, and Catherine's lead work weaves smoothly into the overall structure. The only complaint a fan might have is that the album, especially through the first half, is very mellow and, though well conceived, not too surprising. A second version of "December 26th (In Tempo)" pinpoints the problem, when it allows -- as few other pieces on the album do -- Catherine a chance to really cut loose on his guitar. Other pieces, like "The Hostage," are interesting in places, but leave one wishing for more fireworks. Overall, Meeting Colours is stylishly conceived and executed, but perhaps too low-key, relaxed, and safe for its own good.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.