Electrifying Track: Cathexis


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In February 1964, pianist Denny Zeitlin recorded Cathexis, his first leadership album for Columbia. Denny was joined by Ben Tucker on bass and Ben Riley on drums. The title track is a word found in psychoanalysis to mean an acute amount of psychic energy directed toward a person or thing. At the time of the album's recording, Denny was studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, en route to becoming a psychiatrist.

The song's spirit bears some resemblance to John Coltrane's Countdown, with Denny's fascinating chord voicings and his Bud Powell-like detours. But the song, ultimately, is pure Denny in its proclivity for adventure and discovery.

Here's Cathexis...

And here's the album...

To read my JazzWax interview with Denny Zeitlin, go here. Links to additional parts can be found at the top of each part, above the red date.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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