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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Billy Cobham

Mirror’s Image

Review by Gary Hill

I really love the balance between old school jazz and fusion on this live set. Of course, that’s kind of what you get with Billy Cobham. He and his band do this better than just about anyone does, really. If you like fusion with a lot of traditional jazz in the mix, you’ll love this.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mirror’s Image

Although this starts a bit tentatively, it works out to some smoking hot fusion that seems to just keep driving forward and building. By around the six and a half minute mark, it shifts gears to an equally dramatic jam that’s not quite as insistent. It has some killer melodies and textures, though. As piano jams later the drums simply wail. It works out to a smoking hot jazz groove as it continues to evolve. Then it shifts to more dramatic fusion from there.

Street Urchin
This piece seems to be packed with passion and style. It has several changes throughout. It never fails to impress or entertain, though. This is more of a purely fusion oriented piece than the opener was.
Kinky Dee
The rhythm section starts this in a fast paced jam. From there the melody starts to cook. There is definitely a lot more of an old school jazz kind of element at play here. Still, this has plenty of fusion, too.  This gets really furious at times. Everyone is on fire here. This cut features an extended, unaccompanied drum solo.
Leeward Winds
More of an old school jazz groove starts this number off in style. It works through on that basic premise as it continues. They take things in a lot of different directions as this develops. It seems that everyone gets a chance to shine. I particularly like the bass and piano work out later in the piece.
Mirror Crack’d
Starting more in pure old school jazz, this works out to some of the most rocking and unusual fusion of the bunch. It’s seriously incendiary. It’s among my favorites here, too. When it drops to a bass and piano oasis, it’s mellower and more old school jazz. It grows back out gradually from there. This is another piece that includes an unaccompanied drum solo.
Layed Back Lifestyle
Piano starts this in a suitably mellow way. In fact, the piano holds the piece for almost the first three minutes, taking it through several changes and melodies. As it begins to come out from there it has a very classical vibe to it. We’re almost seven and a half minutes in before it shifts to a real energetic jazz groove. Even then, it’s still kind of mellow in a lot of ways.
 
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