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John Etheridge

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Biography of John Etheridge

"If John Etheridge weren't so brilliant he might be more famous. His versatility is confusing. What other guitarist could have begun his career as a member of Soft Machine and the Stephan Grappelli Quintet? For this set Etheridge revisits Grappelli territory, but in the spirit of exploration rather than nostalgia. His companions are rhythm guitarist Dave Kelbie, bassist Malcolm Creese and Christian Garrick, the best young violinist in jazz today. The programme ranges from old ballads, such as 'I'm Through With Love', to a death defying version of Coltrane's 'Giant Steps' that would cause other guitarists to fall apart from the first chorus." Dave Gelly. The Observer (CD Of The Week).

"A virtuoso on acoustic and electric guitars." Time Out "World class fretwork" Guitarist Magazine

"The guitarist John Etheridge - playing an acoustic instrument for once - was deftly brilliant throughout. His duet with the other guitarist was the highlight of the evening." Martin Gayford - Daily Telegraph

"...Etheridge redeemed the genre, in short he made the guitar talk and the audience listened with rapt attention." Phil Johnson - The Guardian

John Etheridge has been at the top of the jazz and contemporary guitar world for 25 years. His career has covered a huge range of musical territory combining both powerful improvising, technique, a feel for idiom and an individual concept which makes his output eclectic but highly personal.

Etheridge was first touted by the music press in the early 70s while playing with a number of progressive rock and early fusion units (most notably Darryl Way’s Wolf – producing three albums for Decca).

In 1975 he was offered the chance to replace Allan Holdsworth in the legendary jazz-fusion group Soft Machine. International touring and recording followed until the band’s demise at the end of the 70s. More or less simultaneously (starting in 1976) Etheridge joined the touring group of the celebrated jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.

For a number of years these two commitments ran parallel – revealing the broad range of his abilities. Etheridge left Grappelli’s quartet in 1981.

For the last twenty years he has pursued a career involving associations with many of the great players of the jazz world. Either in single concerts, touring or recording he has appeared with – Barney Kessel, Didier Lockwood, Nils Pedersen, Gordon Beck, Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Vic Juris, Miroslav Vitous, Birelli Lagrene, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Williams, Yehudi Menuhin, Pat Metheny, Andy Summers, Nigel Kennedy (an association now in its seventh year), and is currently rehearsing a new group formed by the great classical guitarist, John Williams.

In the late 80s, Etheridge started to lead his own bands and is currently fronting a quartet dedicated to Stephane Grappelli, as well as an 8 piece group Zappatistas (performing the music of Frank Zappa) and also leads a trio with the legendary drummer John Marshall.

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