For the 11th episode of How Deep Is Your Crate, Tah Rei chatted with us about one his favorite albums by a band called Catalyst, a four man jazz combo that originated in Philadelphia. They played a blend of avant-garde, post-Coltrane spiritual jazz, world music, contemporary bop, soul, and funk at the dawn of the fusion explosion.
The band’s eponymous debut, released in 1971 on the Cobblestone label, is widely regarded as being superior to better known recordings of the fusion era by bands like Weather Report and Return to Forever. One listen to this album reveals that Catalyst put a lot of time and effort into the final product; the songs aren’t jam sessions; instead they were carefully thought-out, well-rehearsed studio executions.
Ultimately, the band released four sterling studio efforts, but with no significant sales, the group became leery of the recording business and parted ways in 1976—in the meantime, their 1971 debut remains a highly sought-after gem.