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Billy Cobham

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Billy Cobham Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Stratus album cover
3.51 | 13 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Drum-Solo Intro / Stratus (4:36)
2. AC/DC (3:59)
3. Kasia (4:08)
4. All Hallows Eve (3:17)
5. Wrapped in A Cloud (6:25)
6. Drum-Solo (3:26)
7. Total Eclipse (4:11)
8. Brooze (3:52)

Total Time 34:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Stern / guitar
- Gil Goldstein / keyboards, Steinway grand piano
- Michal Urbaniak / electric violin, lyricon
- Tim Landers / electric bass
- Billy Cobham / drums, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: GŁnther Sumser with Alex Manninger (photo)

LP in-akustik ‎- INAK 0813 (1981, Germany)

CD in-akustik ‎- inak 813 CD (1990, Germany)

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BILLY COBHAM Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Stratus ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

BILLY COBHAM Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Stratus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After many years and some funky albums from his great debut, Billy Cobham formed his European band Glass Menagerie with two future jazz/fusion stars - guitarist Mike Stern and Polish violinist Michal Urbaniak. In more classic jazz fusion format, band returned Cobham's music back to jazz-rock.

Rich in electric guitar,with violin interps, band plays good jazz rock there. Album sound is very clear,acoustic. It is Cobham's debut with German label In-Acoustic, you can feel their usual cold and clear sound on all album.

Compositions are quite different, well balanced, more band's musicianship, than Cobham plus back-up musicians. Every musician has possibility to show himself and enough time for that. Real return to form!

Review by patrickq
3 stars I'll start with what I perceive as the weak spot of Stratus: it sounds like safe, "smooth jazz" in places. "AC/DC" and "Total Eclipse" are prime examples, although each has its charms, and the piano work on "Total Eclipse" is excellent. But overall, I get the feeling that five excellent but risk-averse musicians got together for a gig and nailed their parts on the first take.

OK, now that's out of the way. Stratus is a good listen. Compared to Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire - - the other album I have that features Cobham - - Stratus is less adventurous but more consistent. Interestingly, this is true of the drumming as well. I'm not sure if this is common when the bandleader is the drummer, but Cobham opens the album with a half- minute solo, which he picks back up on side two for another three and a half minutes. And that's pretty much it. The rest of the time, the spotlight is on someone else in the band - - not the guy who's name is on the cover.

And the other members of the band are great too, especially bassist Tim Landers and violinist Michał Urbaniak. The quintet was rounded out by Mike Stern (guitar) and Gil Goldstein (keyboards). Urbaniak and Stern each later played with Miles Davis, for whom Cobham played on "Feio" from Bitches Brew. While Cobham wrote four of the tracks on the album, the other four musicians wrote one apiece.

Stratus may not be an essential fusion album, but it's a good one. Three stars.

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