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Billy Cobham - The Art Of Three: Live In Japan 2003 CD (album) cover


Billy Cobham


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars I really like Billy Cobham's early fusion albums and stayed attracted by his signature drumming for decades. Unhappily, during last some years his releases are too often disappointing: his low-profile European projects all are far below his standard,his world fusion recordings are placed too far from real jazz music. I saw him playing live two years ago with one of his European project (Billy Cobham Band) and was really surprised in how good form he is,but for home listening only few his early works are usually in use...

In situation mentioned above the really pleasant exception is Billy Cobham's all-stars super-trio The Art Of Three. Founded initially as live-only team for touring playing jazz standards, their first (live as well) release from US/European tour was real surprise in Cobham's recent discography.

Just a few years later same great trio (with Kenny Barron on piano and Ron Carter on bass besides of Cobham) reunited for few Japanese nights (played in Hyatt Regency Osaka,shows were recorded again and released on two excellent Japanese albums.This one is the first of two.

Album contains trio playing mostly their classic repertoire of jazz standards in fully acoustic mode. It's a rare possibility to hear Cobham playing all-acoustic hard bop! And believe me - I was so much surprised how great he is in this!Not thunder-like as we know him (from his semi-electronic drum kit), but deeply acoustic,emotional, with plenty of rhythm and sound nuances!For sure, being formally a Billy Cobham's recordings,these music is in fact equal balanced product of all three excellent musicians (again,there is quite rare case when Cobham isn't openly dominant on his recording). Everyone of three musicians has enough place for his soloing,but all album is excellent example of really collaborative work.

Album opens with Thelonious Monk's 'I Mean You' and contains both Carter's 'New Waltz' and Barron's 'And Then Again'.Trio's take on classic "Stella by Starlight" or "Round Midnight" is gentle,even romantic, and I am asking myself again and again - is this drummer same as legendary "thunder machine" Cobham? But yes, he is same Cobham for sure and once again I enjoy how great he could be playing hard bop!

Album's sound is warm and soft,as usually with Japanese acoustic live recordings (yes,I like this sound - you feel like the music is played in the same room you're sitting when listening), with possibly just a bit too deep bass sound in a moments. One of the best Cobham recording for years,give it a try and you will refresh you old love to one of the greatest drummer of early 70s.

snobb | 4/5 |


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