Sunday, February 14, 2016

Catalyst - 1974 - Unity


01. A Country Song 6:20
02. Little Miss Lady 4:53
03. Maze 5:17
04. Athene 5:27
05. Mail Order 6:12
06. Shorter Street 3:53

Bass – Zuri Tyrone Brown,Alphonso Johnson(track A1)
Drums, Percussion – Onaje Sherman Ferguson, Jabali Billy Hart (track A1)
Electric Piano – Sanifu Eddie Green
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Mwalimu Odean Pope
Flute (track B1)– Connie Hamilton, Shirley Byrne Brown, Steve Tanzer
Percussion – Jabali Billy Hart (tracks B1,B2)
Violin – Gail Murdaugh (track B1)
Violin, Soloist – John Blake (track B1)

Recorded January 1974

Third album from the Green/Pope band, and Unity is in the continuity (no pun, I swear ;o)) of its predecessor, whatever your Perception (now yes ;o))). The line-up remains unchanged, although Alphonso returns for one track, as Hart does too, and other guests include some strings and some additional flute players. Unfortunately the artwork returns to the yawnsome band picture, after the slightly kaleidoscopic Perception.

Opening on the scorching fuzzed-out bass Country Song, the album settles in a cooler mood with the Rhodes and flute Little Miss Lady, the calm ballad that follows, which wimll lead you in the torrid Maze, where the meanders will lose you while loosening your senses in preview of what’s to come. The flipside opens on the also-torrid Athene and I thought I found some Nucleus sonics and stribng and wind arrangements and a lengthy violin solo, courtesy of John Blake. The lengthy Mail Order is definitely the album’s centrepiece and its steamy fusion heart is truly hypnotizing, with Pope reaching some Coltranian intensity, and Brown’s bass solo is just the right length. The closing Shorter Street bears its influence in the title.

If you were to ask me which of the first three Catalyst albums I would preferred, I’d have a hard time telling which one would slightly edge-out the other two, but this one might just gat an inch advantage, only detected by a photo-finish

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