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Michael Marcus Trio - Ithem

Rex Butters, All About Jazz

Bay Area native, and a veteran of both Sonny Simmons and Jaki Byard, Michael Marcus recorded Ithem in '93 with William Parker and the late Denis Charles. The first three tracks were recorded live at the old Knitting Factory and the remaining two are studio tracks.

The power listening trio opens with "Ithem". After an Ornette-like intro, Parker flies out the gate and never looks back. Soon Charles joins riding the cymbal, while smacking drums off beat. Marcus finds volumes of stories to tell, with an athletic tone and patience in the telling.

Marcus plays with yearning over Parker's bow and Charles's brushed cymbals on "Under The Wire".
Again acapella, Parker gets slippery 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.

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.

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.