01. Ain't It The Truth
03. Catalyst Is Coming
05. New-Found Truths
Piano, Vocals – Eddie Green (track A1)
Oboe – Odean Pope (track A2)
Poppy Pod – Skip Drinkwater (tracks A2,B2)
Vocals – Eddie Green (track A2), Morris Bailey (track A2)
Flute – Odean Pope(tracks A3,B3)
Tenor Saxophone – Odean Pope (track A3,B1)
Bass – Al Johnson (tracks: A2, B1, B3), Anthony Jackson (tracks: A3, B2), Ron Baker (tracks: A1)
Drums – Sherman Ferguson (tracks: A1 to B2)
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Eddie Green (tracks: A2 to B3)
Guitar – Norman Harris (tracks: A1)
Percussion – Sherman Ferguson (tracks: A2, B2, B3)
Recorded March 3, 27 & April 16 at Sigma Sound Studios
Although Catalyst is generally remembered as a fairly stable quartet, it was not really the case with their debut album. They were mostly a trio at the time with Rhodesman Eddie Green, drummer Sherman Ferguson and wind player Odeon Pope, and whoever was around on bass, which included Alphonso Johnson, Anthony Jackson or Ron Baker. Musically, the band was a typical product of its time, including the African-awareness that saw each member take on a spiritual nickname. However the band never dared giving a more spiritual image as three or their four album’s artworks are absolutely boring, and the debut is indeed totally unremarkable, compared to their competition.
Opening on the light-hearted but short Ain’t It The Truth, the albums plunges in the thick of things with the 8-mins East, which delves in depth of the Vitous-era Weather Report, and the Mwandishi soundscapes, including Pope’s deep oboe that is reminiscent of Bennie Maupin’s bass transcendental foundations that made such impact on Mwandishi’s music. The 8-mins+ Catalyst Is Coming is somewhat more upbeat (and jazzier), with Pope saxing around and Jackson’s pedestrian contrabass (including a solo), but Green ever-present Rhodes keeps a fusion touch. Flipping the disc, you’ll return to the same kind of ambiance in Jabali (percussionist Billy Hart’s nickname). New-found Truths features loads of Rhodes, and the closing Salaam features loads of slow flute.
Although not nearly as well-known as Mahavishnu, Weather Report, Mwandishi or RTF (all direct descendants of Miles’ Bitches sessions) Catalyst’s debut album is just as good as their counterpart’s debut, but this band recorded their around two years after, which does not make them groundbreakers. Nevertheless, if you love early 70’s JR/F, you should have no problems appreciating this band’s four albums.