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Billy Cobham - Total Eclipse CD (album) cover

TOTAL ECLIPSE

Billy Cobham

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 34 ratings

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BeeJayMelb
5 stars The year is 1974 and Billy Cobham is turning 30. To celebrate he released not one, but two fabulous fusion records: 'Crosswinds' and 'Total Eclipse'. Whereas the former has very much a 'sound portrait' feel, 'Total Eclipse' presents as much more composed and arranged. It is a more complex album with enhanced textures and an ambitious musical vision. A similarity with its predecessor is an opening suite: 'Solarization' is over 11 minutes in length with five sections. One soon notices a difference with an early solo by pianist Milcho Leviev on an acoustic piano! The next thing that hits is how John Abercrombie has beefed up his attack. His guitar solo in the 'Voyage' section of the suite makes one wonder whether he was stung by the comparisons to Tommy Bolin following his work on 'Crosswinds' - here he's fiery and focussed. His final solo on 'Moon Germs' is a ripper.

There are the expected funkier work-outs and even some humour - check out Billy elbowing out a drum machine on 'Bandits'. Another longer piece, 'Sea of Tranquility', dominates side two and contains some nice analogue spacey keyboards before the album rounds out percussively with 'Last Frontier'. To my ears Billy Cobham does deliver on his promises here: the album is complex, rocky, funky and very satisfying over repeated listens. When I began this review, I was expecting a solid three to four stars, but on reflection it is better than that. A good point of entry for 'prog' fans wishing to sample fusion. RATING: Vision & Innovation: 26/30; Playing & Composition: 28/30; Listener Enjoyment: 28/30; X-Factor [cover, imponderables, reviewer bias]: 8/10. Total: 90/100 -> 5 Stars.

BeeJayMelb | 5/5 |

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