fusion drummer Billy Cobham. The album was released in 1974. It comprises eight songs, all composed by Billy Cobham. The album peaked number 6 in the Billboard Jazz album charts, number 12 in the R&B album charts and number 36 in the Billboard 200 charts.
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. The funky "Moon Germs," on which John Abercrombie is pushed to inspiring new heights, became a Cobham classic. "The Moon Ain't Made of Green Cheese" is a beautiful flugelhorn solo by Randy Brecker backed by Cobham's
debut on piano. The band stretches out on the lengthy "Sea of
Tranquility," while "Last Frontier" is a gratuitous drum solo. This
recording is highly recommended as Cobham still sounds inspired.
Considering that 1974's 'Total Eclipse' is Mr.Cobham's third studio
recording (and was already in pretty heady company in his catalog even
when it came out) this is a likely candidate for Cobham's best album and
trust me I have heard most of them.Why?Because with the exception of
the closing "Last Frontier" (a drum solo) this album is basically devoid
of alot of flashy bombastic drumming on Cobham's part.Just great use of
sustained intensity on the wonderful "Solarization" suite.
title concepts for most of these tunes refer to various astronomical
phenomenon.And in the case of the ultra funky "Lunarputians" just an
excuse to use aliens as an excuse to groove (a concept later used with
vocals by a guy named George Clinton).Some elements of this album are
very heavily jazzy such as "Sea Of Tranquillity" and the title track
emphasizes one of the most important parts of this albums appeal-the
tunes here are some of the all time best compositions Cohbam has created.
It wasn't exactly a bad thing either that Billy had the help of 'The
Billy Cohbam Players' as they are credited.These players include John
Abercrombie,the Brecker's, and the magnificant Alex Blake on bass.And I
say that funnily in tribute to some community radio DJ's in my neck of
the woods playing acoustic jazz who love to list EACH band member
followed by the instrument they play.They probably would never play an
album like this on their shows but if I had a radio show I sure would
play this....okay MASTERPIECE and proudly list the musicians and what
they play because without Billy AND the mutual collaberation of these
great artists this album would'nt be exactly what it was.Integrity at
When I first heard this album, the musicianship of Cobham and Co. blew
me away. This is some of the tightest, well-written fusion material ever
presented to the jazz-buying public. I have been waiting for them to
release this on CD since CDs were invented!
You cannot go wrong with
this album if you are a fan of the fusion movement of the 70's. I would
rank this and some of the other Cobham albums above even McLaughlin
and Mahavishnu orchestra in terms of ground-breaking musicianship and
Cobham is the best drummer and on this album he shows his composing
ability. Total Eclipse is by far the best in the Cobham collection in my
book. John Abercrombie's guitar work is great and the opening piece
will leave you on the edge of your seat. There's a little funk and a
little jazz and a whole lotta great drumming throughout. GET THIS MUSIC
IN YOUR HANDS!!!!
1. Solarization: Solarization/Second Phase/Crescent Sun/Voyage/Solarization-Recapitulation (11:10)
2. Lunarputians (2:33)
3. Total Eclipse (5:59)
4. Bandits (2:30)
5. Moon Germs (4:54)
6. The Moon Ain't Made Of Green Cheese (0:58)
7. Sea Of Tranquility (10:44)
8. Last Frontier (5:22)
Total Time: 44:10
John Abercrombie – electric & ovation guitars
Michael Brecker – flute, soprano & tenor saxes
Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn
Glenn Ferris – tenor & bass trombones
Billy Cobham – traps, timpani, acoustic piano on "The Moon Ain't Made Of Green Cheese & "The Last Frontier"
Milcho Leviev – keyboards
Alex Blake – electric bass
David Earle Johnson – congas on "Solarization" & "Moon Germs"
Sue Evan – marimba on "Solarization"
Cornell Dupree – first guitar solo on "Moon Germs"