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Billy Cobham - Spectrum CD (album) cover


Billy Cobham


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.28 | 525 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The recent inclusion of this unsuspecting artist, owner of a timeless crown jewel with this recording, compelled me to register my complete elation in welcoming yet another masterpiece into the Prog Hall of Fame (hello, Cincinnati). My esteemed colleague (and seemingly highly adroit scribe) Rollie Anderson hit the proverbial nail smack on the head, with his highly explosive review, unable and unwilling to hide his unabashed awe. Simply put , and then we can move on, this is among the cream discs from the 70's new prog-fusion (once and then better described as jazz-rock), up there, onstage with the illustrious Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Birds of Fire", Return to Forever's simply ripping "Romantic Warrior" , Al DiMeola's blistering "Land of the Midnight Sun" and Weather Report's suave "Sweetnighter" . Yeah! It's that kind of pedigree. Mind blowing! No need to give a blow by blow account of each track's virtues, the whole is even better than the sum of its parts. To start, the sheer quality of the musicianship veers straight into the ridiculously insane. Both Cobham's drumming and Jan Hammer's synthesizing are well-documented inspirations to countless learning musicians, so the shift is directly aimed at the super cool bass patterns of famed and then busy LA session bassist Leland Sklar, enough to sit up and notice. Only need a good guitar to seal the deal and what a left-field choice. So enters "I died too young" Tommy Bolin, still revered today by knowledgeable rock fans whose jaw dropped at this first and fierce six-string recital, a guitarfest that has all the flair of sheer genius. The compositions just groove, at times intensely so, a controlled fury sculpted by warp speed fingers and sensitive hands. Even the brief drum solos , as well as the manic synth noodlings accent the creative package which is best showcased by the legendary (and oft sampled ) "Stratus" one of the finest instrumentals of all-time. When the brief synth- drum ends, the main bass-led beat is laid down like an anchor, propelling the groove (Ozrics style) and it's take-off time. What a detonation! When Tommy kicks in with a tectonic plate shaking guitar solo that defies description but will shatter your doubts and turn you into a fan, the apex has been achieved! One of those" You must be joking, take a running jump" kind of solos. I strongly suspect that this record will be heavily reviewed in the future and deservedly so as I cannot comprehend someone slamming this extremely original rock icon. Did I omit to mention Billy's titanic drumming prowess throughout? Not surprising as each return audition pursues the quest in "driving me mad", (I want you, I want you so bad, it's ..) . Any proud prog collection cannot afford the exclusion of this pentastar offering. Remembering 1973 when this was recorded , I am reminded that it was the nec plus ultra prog year, with tons of inspiring musical masterworks (just go through our site's top albums all-time section and chalk em up). Get, keep, treasure and forever enjoy 5 red barons
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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