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Spectrum

4.7 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 25, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The drummer's popular debut solo effort. Includes "Stratus."

Amazon.com

Cobham's first album as a leader, in 1973--a jazz-rock classic. As on his slightly earlier outings with Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham dazzles with rapid-fire pyrotechnics. But, listening carefully, he also does his job of rhythmic support--for this, he calls on his roots in drum-corps and Latin timbale drumming. His compositions here set fire to a stunningly tight band. The scowling, scurrying, skirmishing performance by the late rock-guitar ace, Tommy Bolin, is particularly memorable. He merges beautifully with Cobham's Mahavishnu bandmate, Jan Hammer (Moog/keyboards), who eggs Bolin on with warp-speed synthesized guitar sounds. The band was just as involved rhythmically as McLaughlin's, but had a gritty rapid-transit flavor where Mahavishnu was in spiritual quest. --Peter Monaghan

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Quadrant 4
  2. Searching For The Right Door / Spectrum
  3. Anxiety / Taurian Matador
  4. Stratus
  5. To The Women In My Life / Le Lis
  6. Snoopy's Search / Red Baron


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 25, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1973
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002I77
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By . VINE VOICE on June 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This cd is groundbreaking in an aspect that hasn't yet been referred to: the union of the more frantic 'Mahavishnu' type soloing ,(McLaughlin, DiMeola) with a more relaxed, blues inflected style,(Clapton,Allman), from Bolin. Up until this moment the two soloing styles had been at odds with each other; the fusion guys thinking the blues-rock guys weren't ambitious enough, the blues guys thinking the fusion guys weren't soulful enough. Bolin was the man for the job of unifying the styles, combining a relaxed bluesy vibrato with chops to spare; still the hallmark of the best modern soloists.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the things I enjoyed about the 1970s fusion era was the way it allowed musicians to indulge their taste for different genres. Artists are easily pigeonholed, and the more successful they are, the harder it can be to break out of the role they are cast in by fans, the media, and their own promoters. Miles Davis recognized this stultifying syndrome in jazz and refused to be trapped, breaking ground for the merging of segregated forms with his pivotal album "Bitches Brew." Other pioneers, like Ornette Coleman, Tony Williams, Joe Zawinul, and John McLaughlin, also cast off the stale conservatism of "mainstream" jazz and experimented with combinations of jazz improvisation with rock, eastern, Latin American, electronic, and purely abstract forms.
In the aptly titled "Spectrum," Cobham revealed his interest in, and aptitude for, rock and funk, as well as considerable compositional skills. Fans who were used to the more esoteric, odd-metered intensity of the wildly original Mahavishnu Orchestra might have been disappointed by the down-to-earth, straight time jams found in Billy's solo work, but those of us who appreciate a solid, funky groove along with hot solos immediately cottoned to this side of his personality. We also dug the fact that he could go from barnburner tracks like "Quadrant 4" and "Stratus" to the cool and jazzy "Le Lis" and it was the most natural thing in the world. Yeah, you could dig rock, you could dig jazz: it was all good.
"Crosswinds," "Spectrum," and "Total Eclipse," were mainstay albums in many collections during the '70s. Each one reveals different aspects of Mr. Cobham's special talents and tastes. In my humble opinion, they are essential listening for anyone interested in the evolution of jazz-rock.
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Format: Audio CD
a reviewer here actually said this disc was...boring?!?! Hmmmmm.

I still find this to be one of Cobham's best releases. When Jan Hammer and Billy kick off 'Quadrant 4' you know they mean business. Not only does Cobham have great fusion chops, the man is flat-out funky! He can lay down the fattest grooves. Tommy Bolin scorches on the guitar. So sad he couldn't overcome his subsance abuse and left us much too early. What a talent!

Listen to Tommy and Hammer trade riffs in 'Taurian Matador', brilliant! Hammer is leading the charge and Bolin is right there with him, burnin' up the fretboard while Billy lends his usual brilliant support. This disc has remained a personal favorite of mine thru the years. Just a very solid effort from Billy and the boys. R.I.P Mr. Bolin

[...]
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Format: Audio CD
Almost 30 years after "Spectrum" was recorded, there still seems to be a youthful interest in "funk jazz" and "fusion"; especially now that digital sampling has exploded into the music
world and e-musicans are trying to create music that is both dancible and sonically interesting. Moreover, "Spectrum" almost serves as a "how to manual" for making tasteful music from these genres. It features some very good musicians in Cobham, Jan Hammer, Tommy Bolin, Joe Farrell, Ron Carter, and others. I highly recommend it along with Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow". Admittedly I rarely listen to either much anymore, but that tends to happen after a few hundred listens.
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Format: Audio CD
I'll keep it short. This album is as good as it gets with regards to Jazz Fusion. This is THE Billy Cobham album to get. A lot of fusion is just mindless noodling, and as a result the syle gets a bad rap. This album, along with "Inner Mounting Flame" and most stuff by Weather Report and Chic Corea is the quality stuff.

This album features the guitarist Tommy Bolin, who died from a drug overdose just as his career was taking off. His playing on this album, and outstanding interplay with Jan Hammer on keyboards, shows that he was a major talent cut short.

This is a good starting point for anyone wanting to explore the musical style.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album was the 'high watermark'for rock/jazz fusion of the 70's.Taking nothing away from Mahavishnu,Beck or any others who put out stellar music from this period. This is the one for me!A desert island disc for sure,it's such a crying shame that TOMMY BOLIN IS STILL NOT WIDELY KNOWN TO THIS DAY!despite efforts by his family in keeping his name alive.I already owned this disc sans the extra track but when i saw that Tommy was on said track i immediately ordered it and promptly gave my other to one grateful freind.I highly recomend this disc to anyone besides Drummers and Guitarists who want to hear some of the most Tightest,exciting,smokin',smooth and soulful music ever layed down to wax!!BUY IT NOW!
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