Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Funkiest Band You Never Heard
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Talk about buried treasure. Catalyst's The Funkiest Band You Never Heard, a two-disc reissue, is a long-overdue reintroduction to a mostly forgotten Philadelphia quartet whose four early-'70s albums bridged the gap between... more »
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Talk about buried treasure. Catalyst's The Funkiest Band You Never Heard, a two-disc reissue, is a long-overdue reintroduction to a mostly forgotten Philadelphia quartet whose four early-'70s albums bridged the gap between avant-garde jazz and funk and soul with delicious ease. Containing the albums Catalyst, Unity, A Tear and A Smile, and Perception, the two-disc set does have occasional moments when things sound a bit old-fashioned--like on the set's very first track, "Ain't It the Truth," or the very last, a forgettable cover of the Jackson Five's "Got to Be There". But in between, things mostly sound dated in the best way: this is the '70s, sure, but it's the '70s of the far-out electrified funk of Miles Davis, the avant-groove of Herbie Hancock's Sextant, the experimentalism of early Weather Report, the Eastern leanings of Yusef Lateef (especially on Odean Pope's oboe solo on "East"), and the funky soul of Stevie Wonder. Saxophonist Pope and pianist Eddie Green were both standout players, but what comes across on lengthy jams like "Celestial Bodies" and "Perception" is an unshakable feeling of group chemistry and adventurous risk-taking that makes the music here sound remarkably fresh and farsighted. --Ezra Gale
Electic jazz/funk at it's best
Christopher McDonald | Pittsburgh, PA United States | 04/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot believe that I haven't heard of these guys before now. Catalyst is this awesome Philly-based band that can play funk, straight-ahead jazz, rock, avant-garde jazz and even some classical. This is one of the best album purchases I've made in awhile and if you listen to Herbie's "Headhunters" era, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, or even Sun Ra; definitely check these guys out. "Shorter Street" is a personal favorite."
Eclecticism that works
Derrick A. Smith | USA | 07/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The early '70s jazz fusion bands not only radically changed the parameters of the "jazz sound" by the use of electric instruments and electronics; many of them absorbed the range of musical styles that were then new to American popular culture, mainly Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, East Indian, and sub-Saharan African forms. This approach reflected the growing sense of pan-Africanist political identity and the expanded consciousness that had come about through the expanded sexual mores, religious and philosophical discoveries, and the use of a wide range of drugs.Catalyst, from Philly, were definitely in the thick of this eclectic fusion movement, and this set of all four of their Muse albums, superbly remastered by Gene Paul, reveals the band to be one of the era's most-accomplished. The players of Catalyst were slightly older than those in some of the other fusion bands, which may account for their continued use of distinct post-bop motifs in some cases and in their use of largely-acoustic ensembles, barring Eddie Green's electric piano. But all the contemporary styles of that time can be heard here: Eastern modes and timbres on "East" and "Jabali"; Afro-Latin elements on "Suite for Albeniz" (which is also a classical fusion, carrying forward the sound of "Sketches of Spain",) "Bahia", and "Ile Ife"; and a soul-jazz/funk style that ranges from light radio-fare ("Got to be There") to an ominous suite in two parts ("The Demon, Parts 1 and 2".)Simply put, the band's name says it all."
Mohammad A. Rahman | Wolverhampton, UK | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Catalyst on a rare compilation called "Coolin'", part of the Freedom Jazz Dance series that took a look at 70s funky jazz from the Muse label. Now, thanks to this fantastic collection "The Funkiest Band You Never Heard" I can finally hear every note they recorded. AWESOME!!!"