All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Michael Marcus Trio: Ithem

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
A Bay Area native and veteran of Sonny Simmons and Jaki Byard, Michael Marcus recorded these trios in 1993 with bassist William Parker and the late great drummer Dennis Charles. The first three tracks were recorded live at the Old Knitting Factory and the remaining two in the studio.

The power listening trio opens with “Ithem, tk 1." After an Ornettey intro, Parker flies out the gate and never looks back. Soon Charles joins, riding the cymbal, while smacking the drums offbeat. Marcus finds volumes of stories to tell with an athletic tone and patience in the telling. Parker plays a capella with techniques informed by his zintir work. Charles begins a solo melodically before polyrhythms dominate. Marcus plays with yearning over Parker’s bow and Charles’ brushed cymbals on “Under the Wire.” Again solo, Parker gets slippery with the bow. Marcus flutters down, Charles accenting sticks on cymbals. The alto cuts loose and Marcus goes for truth with dramatic drums throbbing.

Luxuriating in his fine tone, Marcus initiates “Secret Oceans,” Parker and Charles joining tight on rhythm. The alto snakes through a labyrinth of variations, Parker engaging him throughout. Marcus switches to bass clarinet for “Here At!” Parker and Charles set up an exotic base, and Marcus wails an impassioned song. The animated bass clarinet draws tension from Parker’s drone. Like the previous take, “Ithem, tk 2” has Parker running for his life and Marcus ecstatic on alto. Charles maintains some patterns from the first take, also making up many more.

With Ithem, Ayler Records does its part to retrieve deserving free records from obscurity. With each player now part of a larger legacy, this recording has history and newborn freshness.

Track Listing: Ithem, tk 1; Under the Wire; Secret Oceans; Here At!; Ithem tk2.

Personnel: Michael Marcus, alto sax, bass clarinet; William Parker, bass; Dennis Charles, drums.

Title: Ithem | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Ayler Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Ayler Records


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Life on the Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Life on the Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Bright Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Moments
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "There Is No Love" CD/LP/Track Review There Is No Love
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°" CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017