Billy Cobham <> Spectrum
"One of the groundbreaking "Jazz-Rock Fusion" recordings...the high watermark."
The 1970s fusion era allowed musicians to indulge their taste for different genres. In the aptly titled "Spectrum," Billy Cobham revealed his interest in, and aptitude for, rock, jazz and funk, as well as considerable compositional skills. Cobham's tunes set fire to a stunningly tight quartet primarily featuring keyboardist Jan Hammer, guitarist Tommy Bolin, and electric bassist Lee Sklar. Two tracks include Joe Farrell on flute and soprano and trumpeter Jimmy Owens with guitarist John Tropea, Hammer, bassist Ron Carter, and Ray Barretto on congas.
Cobham was fresh off his success with the Mahavishnu Orchestra when he recorded this debut album. The mood of this session is very versatile, containing moments of both delicacy and aggressiveness. The scowling, scurrying, skirmishing performance by the late rock-guitar ace, Tommy Bolin (who would later join Deep Purple), is particularly memorable. He merges beautifully with Cobham's Mahavishnu bandmate, Jan Hammer.
Over 40 years after "Spectrum" was recorded, there is still a broad interest in "funk jazz" and "fusion" especially now that digital sampling has exploded into the music world and musicians are trying to create music that is both danceable and sonically interesting.
"Spectrum" reached #1 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart as well as crossing-over to the Top 200.