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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


I’ve mentioned this great record by Jazz-Funk master Billy Cobham on a number of blogs, but I can’t resist giving it some special attention. Given the fact that Andy Rock has it on heavy rotation in The Listening Room, it’s been on my mind. Recorded in two days at Electric Ladyland in New York, Billy Cobham (drums), Leland Sklar (Bass), Jan Hammer (Keys) and the late Tommy Bolin (guitar) banged out this record mostly live in the studio.

“JH: Yeah, you don’t expect that anymore after all these years and years of people polishing things to death. That was all played live at Electric Lady Studios. They were just simple vamps, you know the writing is not as important as to how the people who are playing, play together, how they clicked and where we took it with improvisation.”

Apparently Tommy Bolin, the youngster discovered by Jan Hammer, and hand picked by Cobham to fill a spot originally slated for Hendrix, arrived at the session worried because he couldn’t read the charts Cobham had written. After being put at ease by Hammer and Cobham, he went on to play the most amazing guitar he would ever put down on vinyl.

Less angular than the Mahavishnu records that Cobham and Hammer had done with John McLaughlin, ‘Spectrum’ has a more natural grove orient to it, and therefore is much more accessible for rock fans who are interested in some serious playing.

I can’t recommend this album enough, and if proof is what you need, check out ‘Quadrant 4’, if your still not sold, then I give up, because it gets no better than that.

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