Personnel: Jon Catler (guitar); Jonathan Kane, Virgil Moorefield (drums).
Recording information: Hot Sound, New York, NY (02/1996-03/1996).
Editor: Brad Johnson.
Photographer: Richard Kelly .
Crash Landing is the bastard child resulting from the improbable meeting between Allan Holdsworth and Harry Partch. Microtonal jazz-rock. Released in 1996, the Catler Bros.' CD introduced composer and just intonation guitarist Jon Catler as a bandleader (he had already performed the works of Partch and LaMonte Young). For this first album, Catler teamed up with brother bassist, Brad Catler, and drummer Jonathan Kane (Virgil Moorefield takes the stool for two numbers). The format they chose is the good old jazz-rock power trio. Except for a couple of freer passages (including a cover of Ornette Coleman's seminal "Free"), the approach sticks to the rules of the genre -- except for the fact that the pieces are written for a guitar capable of 62 notes per octave. What happens? Nothing at first: Kane lays down swinging grooves and Jon Catler throws in inspired solos and catchy melodies. Only after a while does the listener notice something's odd: the licks feel slightly out of tune and yet they don't. The notes are simply different -- microtonal does not equal atonal and the Catler Bros.' music remains surprisingly listener-friendly, if only a little exotic and unique. Of course, any seasoned guitarist will immediately notice the impossibility to reproduce these lines on an ordinary instrument. And any listener will also find Jon Catler's playing refreshingly exempt of wall-to-wall showoff virtuosity and deafening distortion. He sounds clean, lively, and articulate, and leaves room for the music to vibrate. Recommended to anyone who wants to widen his or her horizons. ~ François Couture