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In February 1964, pianist Denny Zeitlin recorded Cathexis, his first leadership album for Columbia. Denny was joined by Cecil McBee on bass and Freddie Waits on drum. The title track is a word found in psychoanalysis that means 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 zest for adventure and discovery.

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