b. 12 January 1948, London, England. Etheridge is a self-taught guitarist who started playing while he was at school. He went on to Essex University and then played with jazz rock groups in London in the early 70s, including Darryl Way’s Wolf. In 1975 he replaced Allan Holdsworth in Soft Machine, staying with the band until their initial demise in the late 70s. He played with Stéphane Grappelli between 1978 and 1981, showing as much facility playing the acoustic guitar with him as he had previously done on the electric. At the same time, he formed the jazz fusion group 2nd Vision with former Albion Band member Ric Sanders. He undertook solo concerts in Australia and toured the USA with bass player Brian Torff in 1982 before playing some live dates and recording with the re-formed Soft Machine.
Since the mid-80s Etheridge has worked with an impressive number of jazz musicians, including Gordon Beck, John Marshall, Andy Summers, Pat Metheny, Herb Ellis, Didier Lockwood, Barney Kessel and Dick Heckstall-Smith. He has also played with Danny Thompson, Yehudi Menuhin, Nigel Kennedy and classical guitarist John Williams. His own bands include a quartet dedicated to Grappelli and the 8-piece Zappatistas, who perform the music of Frank Zappa. More recently his solo acoustic work has been equally satisfying. On 2004’s I Didn’t Know he sensitively covered ‘God Bless The Child’ and ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’. Etheridge also regularly teaches guitar courses at further education college. His most recent project is the Soft Machine Legacy with Elton Dean (until his death in 2006, and then Theo Travis), Hugh Hopper and John Marshall. A technically gifted guitarist of immense talent, Etheridge is able to use guitar effects very effectively in his solos.