Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Billy Cobham - 1974 [2000] "Crosswinds"

Crosswinds is the second album of fusion drummer Billy Cobham. The album was released in 1974. It comprises four songs, all composed by Billy Cobham. It was used as the basis for the Souls of Mischief's hit song "93 'til Infinity". Wiki

Billy Cobham's second date as a leader was one of his better sessions. Four songs (all originals by the leader/drummer) comprise "Spanish Moss -- A Sound Portrait," and, in addition, Cobham contributed three other pieces. The selections team him with guitarist John Abercrombie, both of the Brecker Brothers, trombonist Garnett Brown, keyboardist George Duke, bassist John Williams, and Latin percussionist Lee Pastora. In general, the melodies and the vamps are reasonably memorable. Cobham also takes an unaccompanied drum solo on "Storm." Worth searching for by fusion collectors.  All Music

Billy Cobham made this album at a pivotal point. The original Mahavishnu Orchestra had disbanded, John McLaughlin was wallowing, and jazz purists were beginning to complain about the rock influence. Billy helped show a new direction. Crosswinds opening suite has lush and sophisticated horn arrangments, soothing a subtly intense rhythm. The effect is like night, tropical breezes, just as he wants to convey. You can almost hear the ocean, the music of the wild Caribbean (no steel drums of course, just cool). The rest of the album alternates between hot and cool, with some funky fusion and a beautiful extended piece, Heathers, near the end, featuring a trombone solo that sounds like the soundtrack to a loving and relaxing dream. The album is inspired, Billy at his creative best, showing the jazz world a new dimension that fusion had not shown before. At 35 minutes it is a little short, but we have quality here, not quantity. This album belongs in any jazz or fusion collection. By D. M. Paine

"Crosswinds" has been in my vinyl collection since 1974, when I first picked up a copy at King Karol Records on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Well, I recently became reacquainted with this recording after picking up a CD copy at a "oh so trendy" record store in Haight-Ashburry, San Francisco. As I did then, I played the new CD over and over again, completely enraptured by Cobham's "Ripley's Believe or Not" staccatto drumming and Lee Pastora's smoking Latin percussion. Joined by the Brecker Brothers, George Duke, John Abercrombie, Alex Blake, John Williams, Garnett Brown and other great luminaries of early jazz fusion, Cobham and his willing partners beat and shape a veritable masterpiece. Drive along Big Sur and take in the vast and dramatic California skies and scarred bluffs and you'll begin to undertand what hues of emotions this exquisite recording conjures. Crosswinds alternates between adrenaline musical rushes and absolute sublime chill, creating a perfectly balanced sinuous stream of sound. Simply exquisite!  By Hector Reyes-erazo.

I got this album as a gift in 1974 when I was 19 years old. My unsuspecting sister had heard the name Billy Cobham, but did not realize what a masterpiece she had placed in my hands. Although a virtuoso drummer with monstrous chops, Billy doesn't let his virtuosity run away with him. Although those looking for impressive drumming will not be disapointed. His use of time on the the Crosswinds suite, his climactic "Storm" solo the driving end movement will satisfy drummers, air-drummers and percussion fans. This album exhibits Billy Cobham, composer and arranger. With a dark hues on his palette and a wide brush, Billy paints us quite a seascape. The "Pleasant Pheasant",one of my favorites, is energetic, driving, exciting and just a little bit funky. This features an exceptional and rhythmic drum solo. "Heather", what can I say about "Heather", hypnotic, seductive, well paced. It starts as a whisper of a siren's song and builds to what to date might be one of Michael Breckers most beautiful and haunting solos. This one is for the headphones, folks. "Heather" is worth the price of this recording alone. A stellar cast of musicians on this album work in concert and in symbiosis to produce one of the underated recordings in the "fusion" era. No pyrothechnics for it's own sake here. Impressive solo's abound within the context of the pieces. John Abercrombie, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Garnett Brown, Lee Pastora ...etc., a dream team of musicians. This album should never have been gone this long from the CD shelves/racks/bins of music outlets. Few of Billy's recording measure up to this one in my opinion. By ND.NY 

Tracks Listing

1 Spanish Moss - "A Sound Portrait": Spanish Moss (4:11)
2 Spanish Moss - "A Sound Portrait": Savannah the Serene (5:14)
3 Spanish Moss - "A Sound Portrait": Storm (2:52)
4 Spanish Moss - "A Sound Portrait": Flash Flood (5:08)
5 Pleasant Pheasant (5:21)
6 Heather (8:40)
7 Crosswind (3:42)

Total Running Time: (35:08)

Line-up / Musicians

-Billy Cobham/ drums, percussion.
- John Williams/ guitar (acoustic), bass (acoustic), bass (electric).
- Randy Brecker/ trumpet.
- Garnett Brown/ trombone.
- John Abercrombie/ guitars.
- George Duke/ keyboards, vocals.
- Lee Pastora / percussions 
 

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