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Rudiments: The Billy Cobham Anthology

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 3, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"Rudiments" connotes that this is essential for drummers-and the 24 tracks of straight-ahead, funked-up and rock-infused jazz make it a real treat for the rest of us, too! The tracks are from eight 1973-78 Atlantic LPs and the supporting players include Jan Hammer, John Scofield, Randy and Michael Brecker and more; includes Stratus; Spanish Moss; Flash Flood; Moon Germs; 29; Shabazz , and more. Nearly two and a half hours of awe-inspiring performances!

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Cobham was one of the building blocks of jazz-rock fusion. By the time he started his recording career in 1976, he had been part of three of the most important bands of the '70s, Miles Davis's groups, Dreams, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. A favorite of guitar players and fans because of the way he drives the string players, his debut album, Spectrum, is pure jazz-rock (featuring the late rock guitarist, Tommy Bolin, from the James Gang and Deep Purple). Bolin's tracks are at the beginning of this 24-track, two-CD retrospective and a very young John Scofield, is featured on guitar at the end of the CD. Back in the days before he joined Miles Davis, Scofield was part of Cobham's band that he co-led with George Duke, and of course, that band's funk classic, "Do What You Wanna" is included. In between those bookends are stunning examples of what it means to be a powerful drummer and to drive a band. There are liberal samplings of Cobham's solos, as well as tracks with his group that featured his partners from Dreams, the Brecker Brothers. Fusion lovers can't go wrong here, while smooth-jazz folks could gain a better appreciation of the roots of that genre. --Mark Ruffin

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Quadrant 4
  2. Stratus
  3. Anxiety/Taurian Matador
  4. Snoopy's Search/Red Baron
  5. All 4 One (outtake)
  6. The Pleasant Pheasant
  7. Spanish Moss
  8. Flash Flood
  9. Solarization
  10. Lunarputians
  11. Moon Germs
  12. Total Eclipse

Disc: 2

  1. Shabazz
  2. Some Skunk Funk
  3. A Funky Thide Of Sings
  4. Panhandler
  5. Neu Rock N' Roll (outtake)
  6. Life & Times
  7. 29
  8. Earthlings
  9. Hip Pockets - The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band
  10. Juicy - The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band
  11. Do What Cha Wanna - The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band
  12. Arroyo


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 3, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 1973
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B00005LMYB
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,928 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
For those of you who invested in either the domestic or import remastered "Spectrum" CD, well, get ready to lay down some more shekels. The "Spectrum" tracks on this Anthology have been spun again and sound slightly better. The bottom end is approximately the same, but there is definitively more "air" in the recordings from this new mastering, especially in the symbols (which are now very bright and upfront).

In addition to the spiffier audio, there is a very well-written booklet which contains, in addition to historical & interesting anecdotal info, Cobham's own comments and recollections of each track on this set. Kudo's to the writer, A. Scott Galloway.

As to the track selection of the Anthology itself, it hits most of the major points. It's a nice sonic-updating for long-time fans, and a great starting point for the Cobham-uninitiated. Hopefully, it will stimulate a craving in all listeners to seek out more of this amazing musician's body of work.

I have been fortunate enough to have seen Cobham twice in the last three years. The first opportunity was here in L.A. at The Conga Room in April of 2002 on his short "Spectrum Anniversary" tour. Time had not lessened Cobham's skill or dulled his immense talent one iota. He was absolutely thunderous, driving the electric band from his double-bass drum kit.

The second was even more intimate and unique: He & Stanley Clarke backed McCoy Tyner at Yoshi's in Oakland for one week in January of 2005, during Tyner's 11th Annual Artist In Residency appearance. We attended the first night, and stayed for both shows. This was fortuitous, as there was no repetition of material between the sets.

Here, Cobham performed magnificently on a single bass drum kit, including some wonderful brush work.
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Format: Audio CD
Billy Cobham is one of my favorite drummers and this anthology of 24 tracks on two CDs is great for fans or those who are interested in a retrospective of a career that is showing no signs of slowing down.

For more than 30 years Cobham has been a band leader covering a wide spectrum of music. There is the rapid-fire delivery of Quadrant 4, ambient moods - Stratus & Spanish Moss - and funk - The Pleasant Pheasant, Lunarputians & Moon Germs.

My favorite cuts are when the funk rockets into space and ends up somewhere near Saturn; Some Skunk Funk, A Funky Thide Of Sings & Panhandler. There are outtakes for All 4 One & New Rock N' Roll, a trio of selections - live & studio - from The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band and a great ending, with the solid bass and percussion interplay in Arroyo.

The CD title aptly fits Cobham's outlook on music, as he continues to press ahead with great studio albums and memorable live dates. Rudiments is truly the sounds of a partially-developed career, no matter how brilliant it has been to this date.

Cobham is not ready to cross home plate.
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Format: Audio CD
A drummer's drummer. This is a great collection of work from one of the best drummers who has ever picked up a pair of sticks. Sadly, most people have never heard of Billy Cobham. They don't know what they are missing.
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