During the early to mid 1970's ,an era when bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever where the big news amongst muso's and those of us who considered themselves discerning listeners, Billy Cobham and his various combos were rated as being at least a match them. Be it in terms of dynamism, technique and bravado, and even more importantly perhaps, distinctiveness of musical approach and standard of composition, Billy had it all going on at this time in his career. 'Spectrum' stands as a great reminder of his ability as a player, writer and band leader.
So,this is one great fusion album - unusually constant in the tune writing department:melody and thoughtful arrangement,not to say quirky and very much of its time, use of electronic effects, give this set its unique appeal as much as soloing power of the superstar personnel involved. 'Stratus' with its nagging bass riff is just one example of the quality of work here. But its not all thrash and flash, there are plenty of moody and attractive little funky pieces that give the album a welcome change of pace and atmosphere.Witness the rhapsodic 'To the Women in Life' and 'Le Lis' as proof of what I mean.Of course the playing is first rate, but as Tommy Bolin shows in his many solo's on the album , jazz -rock can involve feeling as well super speedy dispatching of scale after scale.But If you insist on looking for fusion madness, listen out for 'Quadrant 4, were the band, especially the hyperventilating keyboardist, Jan Hammer does his best to sound like an electric guitarist with his fast runs and note bending,go more then a little off the path of musical sanity.
A high recommended release then- excellent remastering, stylish packaging and informative sleevenotes make this a must-have for any lover of fusion.