Sunday, October 9, 2016

Billy Cobham - 1974 [2008] "Total Eclipse" [24bit Remastered]

Total Eclipse is the third album of 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.

The 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 it's finest!

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 technical perfection! 

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!!!!

Tracks Listing:

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

Additional musicians

    David Earle Johnson – congas on "Solarization" & "Moon Germs"
    Sue Evan – marimba on "Solarization"
    Cornell Dupree – first guitar solo on "Moon Germs"



  2. Excellent! I have the 1974 original vinyl record but this one sounds much better. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This album is really excellent. Know the man with McLaughlin, Santana & Miles Davis but he can play under his own name too and he kills!
    from MA696

  4. I first heard Billy Cobham's drums in 1971 with Mahavishnu Orchestra on A.M. radio, and have loved it ever since. thanks