This is Billy Cobham's third solo recording under his own name and is a fine follow-up to Crosswinds. The mini-suite "Solarization" not only showcases the band's technical abilities, but also Cobham's strong compositional skills. It also features a schizophrenic piano solo ("Second Phase") from the underrated pianist Milcho Leviev, who sounds like a mutation of Cecil Taylor and Bill Evans.
Generally acclaimed as fusion's greatest drummer, Billy Cobham's explosive technique powered some of the genre's most important early recordings including groundbreaking efforts by Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra before he became an accomplished bandleader in his own right.
This is the companion disc to Flight Time, which was also recorded for the Inakustik label. While not quite as original as its predecessor it is still highly recommended. A young Mike Stern had not completely developed his sound yet, but is still unmistakable. Violinist Michael Urbaniak's presence gives Cobham classics like "Stratus," "AC/DC" and "Total Eclipse" a fresh sound. Here again, Cobham is more than willing to let his collegues step to the forefront and offer up their unique ideas, some better than other (Goldstein's "Wrapped in a Cloud" is enchanting while Landers' Reggae offering, "All Hallows Eve," falls flat).
Shabazz captures Cobham's Total Eclipse band in a live setting, and contains two originals, "Shabazz" and "Tenth Pin." The other two songs, "Taurian Matador" and "Red Baron," which debuted on Cobham's classic recording, Spectrum, are given an impressive update. All of the songs are blowing sessions allowing each musician ample time to develop their ideas. Cobham attacks his drums with a vengeance on the introduction to "Shabazz" and on his powerful solo for "Tenth Pin." This is a good, old-fashioned blowing session that captures one of Cobham's best bands at their peak.
Billy Cobhams powerful and complex drumming has exerted a strong influence on jazz and jazz fusion since the seventies when he performed on groundbreaking recordings by Miles Davis (Jack Johnson) and The Mahavishnu Orchestra (The Inner Mounting Flame and others).
His excellent new CD “Palindrome” is Billy’s re-engagement with his own music from that time and the years that followed. Billy Cobham’s 2nd installment in the “Fruit From
The Loom” series is set to be released in March 2010 through his new record company BHM Productions.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
There’s no question that Billy Cobham is one of the most talented and influencial drummers on the planet. I had high hopes going into this one that it would be another “Birds Of Fire” shred-fest. Not quite, although the first song delivers big time in that style. Jan Hammer, his old MAHIVISHNU ORCHESTRA band mate helps out, while Tommy Bolin doesn’t disappoint on guitars. We also get some bass, sax, flugelhorn, trumpet and flute to round out this mostly jazzy sounding album.