Sunday, February 14, 2016

Catalyst - 1973 - Perception


01. Perception   
02. Uzuri   
03. Celestial Bodies   
04. Ile Ife   
05. Got To Be There

Bass – Zuri Tyrone Brown
Congas, Percussion – Farel Johnson
Drums, Percussion – Onaje Sherman Ferguson
Electric Piano – Sanifu Eddie Green
Guitar – Norman Harris
Percussion – Jabali Billy Hart
Synthesizer [Arp] – Pat Gleason
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Nwalinu Odean Pope
Bass – Anthony Jackson (track B3)
Congas – Larry Washington (track B3)

Recorded Nov. 21 - Nov. 27, 1972

The band’s only album with an interesting artwork sleeve, Perception also sees Tyrone Brown hogging the bass spot, even if Ant Jackson appears on the album’s final track. Musically, the band is still strongly inspired by Mwandishi and they invited Pat Gleeson to play his electronic gizmos all over the album. Other guests are percussionists Billy Hart and Farrell Johnson and guitarist Norman Harris - the latter who made a short appearance on the band’s previous album. Gleeson’s contributions are somewhat more accessible than what he did for Mwandishi, and tend to provide a soft decorum (winds, etc…), rather than plunging the compositions into an abyss - as was the case on Sextant or Crossings.

The opening 14-mins+ title track is thee album’s centrepiece and presents a middle section with various solos, some being slightly dissonant, but one should remember the other moments of the track. He short Uzuri has a slight Latin jazz feel with flute, as would the also-short Got To Be There ending the album. The two longer tracks on the flipside are the heart of the album. Both Celestial Bodies and Ife are involved and intense, the first being a bit more aerial, the second being more earthy.

Although I’d say that all four Catalyst albums are about equal quality, I tend to prefer Perceptions slightly more, though I’d have a hard time arguing why. Maybe the artwork and Gleeson’s presence make the difference...

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