The Atlantic Years, 1973-1978

The Atlantic Years, 1973-1978

by Billy CobhamBilly Cobham


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Drummer and composer Billy Cobham is one of the great technical innovators that bridged jazz, fusion, and funk. Only fellow kit men Lenny White and Alphonse Mouzon were in his class, but neither was as fine a composer or arranger. In this attractively priced box, Cobham's first seven recordings as a leader are compiled with Inner Conflicts -- issued in 1978 after the drummer's first sojourn with Columbia -- to offer enduring proof of his mastery. His debut, 1973's self-produced Spectrum, is a jazz rock classic whose influence is immeasurable. Its production and accessible, driving melodies are framed inside intense, extremely technical compositions. The band included guitarists Tommy Bolin and John Tropea, keyboardist Jan Hammer, and bassist Lee Sklar, with guest spots from Ron Carter, Joe Farrell, and Ray Barretto. Cobham followed it with two ambitiously composed and arranged albums in 1974: Total Eclipse and Crosswinds. Though neither set achieved the crossover critical frenzy that greeted Spectrum, both have been reappraised in the 21st century as groundbreaking. Guitarist John Abercrombie and the Brecker Brothers played on both albums. Pianist Milcho Leviev played keyboards on Total Eclipse, while George Duke was at the helm on Crosswinds. Shabazz, recorded at the 1974 Montreux Jazz festival and released a year later, offered two new compositions as well as inspired readings of "Taurian Matador" and "Red Baron" from Spectrum. This hard-jamming keyboard-less group showcased Cobham in the company of Abercrombie, bassist Alex Blake, the Breckers, and trombonist Glenn Ferris. A Funky Thide of Sings, also from 1975, was a return to the studio. It offered a new, more intense vision of jazz funk rather than jazz rock, with guitarist John Scofield replacing Abercrombie. Cobham re-enlisted Leviev, the horns from Montreux, Blake, and Traffic's percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah on guitar. The tunes were just as complex in terms of composition, but the grooves were monstrous. For 1976's Life & Times, Cobham pared his band to a quartet, keeping only Scofield, and hiring Doug Rauch and Dawilli Gonga on bass and keyboards, respectively. The compositions were tightly woven knots of fusion and funk with the seams jaggedly exposed to dramatic effect. A European tour with Duke, Scofield, and bassist Alphonso Johnson resulted in The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band: Live on Tour in Europe. The album has some terrific moments but is somewhat uneven. The drummer moved to Columbia for two dates before returning to Atlantic for the final record in this set. Inner Conflicts is a varied, futuristic jazz-funk record that actively embraces disco and Latin rhythms. Johnson and Scofield are core members; guests include the Breckers, Sheila and Pete Escovedo, and Julian Priester. Criticized at the time, it has acquitted itself as visionary thanks to DJs. Each album is newly remastered; some contain alternates, outtakes, and mono-and single mixes. They are individuallly encased in thick, replica cardboard sleeves. Also included is a 56-page booklet with an essay by Pete Riley. The price is affordable, the music essential.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/25/2015
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0081227952433
catalogNumber: 551124
Rank: 45266


Disc 1

  1. Quadrant 4
  2. Searching for the Right Door
  3. Spectrum
  4. Anxiety
  5. Taurian Matador
  6. Stratus
  7. To the Women in My Life
  8. Le Lis
  9. Snoopy's Search
  10. Red Baron
  11. All 4 One
  12. Stratus, Pt. 1
  13. Stratus, Pt. 1
  14. Stratus, Pt. 2

Disc 2

  1. Spanish Moss: "A Sound Portrait"
  2. The Pleasant Pheasant
  3. Heather
  4. Crosswind
  5. Crosswind
  6. Le Lis

Disc 3

  1. Solarization: Solarization/Second Phase/Crescent Sun/Voyage/Solarizatio
  2. Lunarputians
  3. Total Eclipse
  4. Bandits
  5. Moon Germs
  6. The Moon Ain't Made of Green Cheese
  7. Sea of Tranquility
  8. Last Frontier
  9. Moon Germs

Disc 4

  1. Shabazz
  2. Taurian Matador
  3. Red Baron
  4. Tenth Pinn

Disc 5

  1. Panhandler
  2. Sorcery
  3. A Funky Thide of Sings
  4. Thinking of You
  5. Some Skunk Funk
  6. Light at the End of the Tunnel
  7. A Funky Kind of Thing
  8. Moody Modes
  9. Neu Rock N' Roll

Disc 6

  1. Life & Times
  2. 29
  3. Siesta/Wake Up/That's What I Said
  4. East Bay
  5. Earthlings
  6. Song for a Friend, Pt. 1
  7. On a Natural High
  8. Song for a Friend, Pt. 2
  9. Out of Darkness (Natural Essence)
  10. It's You I Need (Natural Essence)

Disc 7

  1. Hip Pockets
  2. Ivory Tattoo
  3. Space Lady
  4. Almustafa the Beloved
  5. Do What Cha Wanna
  6. Frankenstein Goes to the Disco
  7. Sweet Wine
  8. Juicy
  9. Do What Cha Wanna
  10. Hip Pockets

Disc 8

  1. Inner Conflicts
  2. The Muffin Talks Back
  3. Nickels and Dimes
  4. El Barrio
  5. Arroyo

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Billy Cobham   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,Soloist,Synthesizer Drums,Kettle Drums,Trap Kit,Electro-Acoustic Piano
John Tropea   Guitar
Ray Barretto   Conga
Tommy Bolin   Guitar
John Abercrombie   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist
Phil Bodner   Flute,Bass Clarinet
Michael Brecker   Saxophone,Woodwind,Soloist
Ron Carter   Acoustic Bass
Richard Davis   Bass
George Duke   Keyboards,Vocals,Soloist
Pete Escovedo   Timbales,Latin Percussion
Don Grolnick   Keyboards
Jan Hammer   Electric Piano,Moog Synthesizer,Electro-Acoustic Piano
Steve Khan   Guitar
Milcho Leviev   Keyboards
Jon Lucien   Narrator
Jimmy Owens   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Julian Priester   Trombone
John Scofield   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Brown   Viola
David Earle Johnson   Conga
Sue Evans   Marimbas
Alex Blake   Bass,Electric Bass
Randy Brecker   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Soloist
Garnett Brown   Trombone,Soloist
Cornell Dupree   Soloist
Sheila Escovedo   Conga,Latin Percussion
Joe Farrell   Flute,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Glenn Ferris   Trombone,Bass Trombone,Tenor Trombone
Walt Fowler   Trumpet
Dawilli Gonga   Keyboards
Kermit Moore   Cello
Jose Najeira   Latin Percussion
Gene Orloff   Violin
Lee Pastora   Soloist,Latin Percussion
Doug Rauch   Bass
Larry Schneider   Saxophone
Ruth Underwood   Marimbas,Xylophone
Ernie Watts   Woodwind
John Williams [double bass]   Bass,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Allan Zavod   Organ
Leland Sklar   Fender Jazz Bass
Alfonso Johnson   Bass
Mike Brecker   Flute,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Tom Malone   Trombone,Piccolo

Technical Credits

George Duke   Composer,Producer
Keith Jarrett   Composer
Milcho Leviev   Arranger,Composer
John Scofield   Composer
Onaje Allan Gumbs   Composer
Ken Scott   Producer,Engineer
Alex Blake   Arranger,Composer
Randy Brecker   Arranger,Composer
Billy Cobham   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Orchestration,Remixing,Cover Photo
Jimmy Douglass   Engineer
Arif Mardin   Arranger
Mark Meyerson   Producer
Pete Riley   Liner Notes
Roy Segal   Engineer
Jim Warren   Cover Illustration
Bob Defrin   Art Direction
Johnson   Composer
Lynn Dreese Breslin   Cover Design
Giuseppe Pino   Cover Photo
Jean-Luke Epstein   Artwork
Rhodes   Composer
Gilbert Stone   Cover Illustration
John Timperly   Engineer
Florence Halfon   Producer
Dennis McKay   Engineer
Jeff Snider   Cover Painting
Manor   Engineer

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