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Billy Cobham - Crosswinds CD (album) cover

CROSSWINDS

Billy Cobham

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.74 | 80 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Following the hugely successful debut album, it was only logical BC would go on with his solo career. The obvious thing one would do is duplicate the winning formula, but not make a carbon copy. BC had the guts not to use the musos that had appeared on Spectrum, but instead relied ona few big names: the Brecker bros, ex-Zappa man George Duke and guitarist Abercrombie as well a few other lesser known. With a superb sky shot, Crosswinds had everything going for itself, including a 17-mins+ four-parts sidelong suite called Spanish Moss.

While the eponymous movement of the suite starts off rather along the lines of Spectrum, Savannah is a little boring, partly because ultra slow, but also very predictable. Although I am never a fan of drum solos, I must say that Crosswinds holds maybe the best ever, in Storm. Indeed, it's pretty hard to believe there could be a more descriptive music than this drum solo depicting thunder, winds, rain, and others. The funky Flash Flood logically follow up harsh storm rainfall, but the Brecker bros are worth a full blow brass section by themselves, even if they still intervene with the tonalities of Tower Of Power. Probably their better moment in the suite, especially the Latino Santana rock moments.

The flipside starts slowly with Pleasant Pheasant, a slow percussive burner that can't be compared with the afore-mentioned boring Savannah track, as it is superb. The following Heather is another real slow track, with an almost hypnotic feel and a beautiful sax solo, courtesy of Brother Michael. The closing title track is a real wake up call, shaking you from your torpor, funking with your brains, twisting the horns section around each hemispheres,

Although Crosswinds doesn't enjoy the same reputation than Spectrum, it is unjustified IMHO. Indeed instead of three overly demonstrative drum solos, we get the most descriptive one ever, and apart one weaker track, the album is generally more even (in terms of quality), but might be a little less rockier, Abercrombie being a little too discreet, compared to Bolin. AAMOF, I think I enjoy Crosswinds a tad more than Spectrum, hence my slightly superior rating.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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