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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome!
While I agree with the previous reviewer that the habit of fading out on key tracks is annoying it only marginally hinders the impact of this album, so awarding it only 1 star without considering the glorious feast of music on offer here sounds childishly petulant at best. For starters while John Abercrombie is undoubtedly a star it's always the group-mind ensemble...
Published on 22 Oct 2007 by 9ftneil

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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT IDEAS, SO WHY ONE STAR? READ ON...
Apart from the excellant 'tranquilty' which would of passed off as an outtake from 'crosswinds' this album has one big fault. You like John Abercrombie's ferocious guitar player? prepare to shake your head in disbelief because this album suffers from the dreaded fade out solo and unfortunately he is the victim over and over again. Take the opener, the usual full on Cobham...
Published on 15 July 2007 by Mark53


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome!, 22 Oct 2007
By 
9ftneil "9ftneil" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Total Eclipse (International Release) (Audio CD)
While I agree with the previous reviewer that the habit of fading out on key tracks is annoying it only marginally hinders the impact of this album, so awarding it only 1 star without considering the glorious feast of music on offer here sounds childishly petulant at best. For starters while John Abercrombie is undoubtedly a star it's always the group-mind ensemble playing that is the best feature of Cobham' best work and only the fade out on 'Moon Germs' really annoys where previously the likes of Tommy Bolin had been given free reign to solo ad infinitum. That aside Billy's third solo album is a real tour de force and easily rivals his first two 'Spectrum' and 'Crosswinds' in the jazz/rock/funk/fusion stakes and as such is a must have purchase for all fans of the genre.

The opening "suite" 'Solarization' features the kind of pyrotechnic rock guitaring from John Abercrombie that recalls Billy's earlier incarnation with the Mahavishnu Orchestra but it's not all rock blitzkrieg as it soon fades into some wonderfully understated piano from the incomparable Milcho Leviev before a gentle rhumba rhythm breaks into Glenn Ferris's sublime trombone solo (apply assisted by Mike Brecker's interweaving sax). The funk returns shortly thereafter with Randy Brecker's lyrical trumpet solo riding over Billy's trademark propulsive grooves before Abercrombie's guitar battles it out with Alex Blake's heavy slap bass in a race to the finish. As an opening "suite" it contains more ideas and creativity than most bands would fit onto an entire album! The stonking horn sound is much in abundance again on the rather short and frenetic Blaxploitation work-out 'Lunarputians' before the title track's slowly building funk cuts into Leviev's fluid piano cadences, again recalling the more jazz orientated side of of the eras Blaxploitation flicks - more akin to the groovy incidental music of Brothers loping down the mean streets than getting too hard and fonky with the Superfly - until Abercrombie's raging guitar leads into fantastic "car-chase" territory.
'Bandits' is another fast, funk flavoured "action sequence" styled groove and with awesome bass and guitar interplay between Blake and Abercrombie it's a short but thrilling ride. 'Moon Germs' continues the funk onslaught with Blake laying down a phat bottom as the guitar rides out on the kind of clipped funk chords that would make even the great Nile Rodgers jealous before the Brecker Brothers turn up the horns to "stonk" and Abercrombie lets fly. Yes it does fade as previously mentioned but then Cobham had kind of done the long-ass solo angle with 'Spectrum' so I guess he was keen to trim the music to keep a more cohesive feel.
The harder edged jazz of 'Sea of Tranquility' is the undoubted masterpiece on offer here with the horns striking minor notes and the keys recalling the creative colours of Chick Corea while the sinuous bass and drums pull the kind of polyrhythmic grooves that the word "dazzling" was invented for. As an ensemble piece it showcases everything that is great about the bands Billy put together in the early 70's and it does benefit from a more compact arrangement than just simply allowing the solos to vear off into noodle-land. Interestingly Billy curbs his previous drum exploits that punctuated the likes of 'Spectrum' and saves them for a longer and more spectacular solo percussive piece on 'Last Frontier' which is another example of his incredible playing that slowly fades into a beguiling piano refrain that is a moving and atmospheric coda to an exceptional album.

This is one of Billy's finest albums and continues the same high standards set by 'Spectrum' while offering a denser more tight ensemble style than previously. For mood, atmosphere, virtuosity and tight but exciting jazz funk fusion this album is hard to beat despite the odd fade out here and there - if you're a serious fan of Abercrombie's 'unfaded' guitaring then check out Billy's live offerings the awesome 'Shabazz' and equally impressive 'Alivemutherforya' because they seriously smoke!. Billy would follow this album with the awesomely funky 'Funky Thide of Sings' one of the greatest funk floor fillers of all time - it's da bomb!! - but for fans of top quality Blaxploitation/jazz funkateering 'Total Eclipse' is every bit as essential.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another redress, 20 Nov 2013
My favourite Cobham album. It doesn't perhaps reach the heights of Spectrum at its absolute best but for me its a more consistent album, one I can put on from start to finish & enjoy. The arrangements are more complex & it has a conceptual aspect that means i'm still hearing new things after all these years. Guitar fade outs? Hundreds of jazz albums have fade outs & I agree often it can be irritating just as a soloist is about to cream himself but it doesn't bother me in this particular case as the writing & arrangement aspect is as important as the soloing, its not a loose framed blowing kind of album like Spectrum. I think it was probably a conscious move that Cobham wanted to display his writing talents as much as his chops at this stage of his career & back then vinyl only allowed about 20 minutes a side, artistic edits had to be made somewhere. Besides to my mind Abercrombie gets quite a lot of room to stretch out. Saw them perform this album in London at the time but with Scofield instead when he had lots of hair..it was the biggest drumkit I had & probably will ever see. Those were the days..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Redressing the balance..., 17 Nov 2013
This review is from: Total Eclipse (Audio CD)
I usually reserve 5 star ratings for what I consider 'life-changing or seriously life-enhancing' musical experiences (which this album isn't) but in this case I'm doing it in protest at the ridiculous 1 star review by Mark53 whose distorting consequences might cause the casual browser to bypass the album completely as not being up there with Cobham's best work. It clearly is....for all sorts of reasons.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT IDEAS, SO WHY ONE STAR? READ ON..., 15 July 2007
By 
Mark53 (BRIGHTON, EAST SUSSEX United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Total Eclipse (International Release) (Audio CD)
Apart from the excellant 'tranquilty' which would of passed off as an outtake from 'crosswinds' this album has one big fault. You like John Abercrombie's ferocious guitar player? prepare to shake your head in disbelief because this album suffers from the dreaded fade out solo and unfortunately he is the victim over and over again. Take the opener, the usual full on Cobham assault and you know that a killer solo is on its way and yet as soon as it starts it fades leaving you wondering if said drummer had fallen out with said guitarist and couldn't find another replacement in time and thought i'd screw him this way. This is the most frustrating jazz/rock album i've heard because it could of been so good. Al Dimeola did the same thing on his otherwise excellant 'elegant gypsy' which was even stranger as he was the lead guitarist! I know it happens on mainstream rock albums unfortunately but on a jazz album? Could you imagine 'birds of fire' with fades? That said if you can tolerate that, then get it but it just frustrates me.
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Total Eclipse (International Release)
Total Eclipse (International Release) by Billy Cobham (Audio CD - 2005)
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