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Billy Cobham - Magic CD (album) cover

MAGIC

Billy Cobham

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A fusion album for fans of symphonic prog?

"Magic" by Mr. Cobham is sort of a mixed bag, but oh what a lovely bag it is!

Don't worry it's not unfocused, nor just a pile of ideas glued without a sense. This is a team work at its best, together with brilliant ideas, superb musicianship and...what else? Well, the year is 1977 - and Billy is obviously smoother and more commercial...but who could blame him for that. He admitted that he's esoteric but he always loved money!!!

Fair enough.

Now, don't let that discourage you. This is a mature statement, a piece of concrete. Solos are sometimes sharp, sometimes fluffy - but there is no more "noodling" present on "Spectrum"...for better or for worse.

The CD contains eight tracks jazz-rock/fusion ornamented with funky, spices of blues, a teaspoon of Latino, traces of disco, a sip of easy listening music and a solid amount of...hard rock. And rap, mind you. Mr. Cobham himself as a vocalist. Or rapper. So ahead of it's time. And it sounds great - believe it or not - with driving bass and congas in background, that's only the part of a multi-part composition - this is art indeed.

That's what I like the most on this album; all the songs are mini-suites. Melodies are awesome and memorable if simple, astonishing if complex. Try to imagine Lionel Ritchie and The Commodores at his best on 45 in instrumental version. No, that's not the best comparison.

However, this is a neat little record, and I won't tell that it aged well. Because it didn't aged at all, it's absolutely out of time. The production is crystal clear yet meaty, Moog and Oberheim synth solos are adding an extra dimension to the record (and I'm strongly recommending it to the fans of symphonic prog), but nothing sounds "dated". In a way, synths sound ahead of its time. Electric piano is great. Bass and guitar too. Not to mention drums.

In conclusion, this is highly recommended - to all the fans of GOOD MUSIC.

Report this review (#129919)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Being a drummer and a fan of jazz fusion, Billy Cobham always has something to offer for me. This isn't my favourite Cobham album by any means, but it still has some excellent stuff to offer. Released fairly far on into Cobham's solo career, the albums texture relies a lot less on the drums themselves as it did on his previous works, which I find a little dissapointing, but none the less it is good musicianship, especially on the album epic. The only track that i would describe as bad is the totally bizarre Puffnstuff which has bizarre vocals and doesn't really go anywhere musical. From a percussion point of view, my favourite track on the album is The Star, which is exactly the kind of drumming which makes Billy Cobham better than most, combining true skill with accessibility (a hard task for even the most skilled drummers). A good enough album, but I wouldn't get it as a starter. 3.5 stars.
Report this review (#156431)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Still a funky product, this Cobham 's album is rich in electric guitar solos and electric piano lines. Plus Latin Congos. Music is not bad at all, but as often, rhythm is more important that the music by itself in some cases. One song even has vocal.

Both together it makes the album attractive in some parts and a bit boring in others. Whenever I prefer melodies to long minutes of funk pulsation, let say this album is more good than bad.

Acoustic piano,played in very classic manner, gave one more accent to all music. Even if not concentrated on one musical idea, album doesn't sound as very unfocused one. Let say - different. For sure ,in moments you feel that luck of general idea /concept.

But musicians are generally competent, music isn't boring ,so you will listen it with pleasure. Another thing is that after listening not too much will stay in your memory. Not bad mix of jazz fusion, light funk ,Latin jazz and pop-jazz.

Better then average jazz-fusion album. Strong 3,5

Report this review (#252615)
Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | Review Permalink

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