After a glorious opening trio of some of the finest jazz/funk/fusion albums with 'Spectrum', 'Crosswinds' and 'Total Eclipse' Billy Cobham released this awesome slab of live sonic fusion that still ranks as one of the all time greatest live albums by anyone. Featuring the ever present Brecker Brothers and Glen Ferris on horns, slap bass guru Alex Blake, guitarist John Abercrombie and Milcho Leviev on keys Billy brought this outstanding band to tour Europe in 1974 culminating in a legendary performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival which is captured here in all its' glory. Simply put live jazz/funk/fusion doesn't get much better than this and if ever an album was crying out for an extra disc reissue it's this outstanding example of intense ensemble playing and pyrotechnic soloing. Focusing on more upbeat compositions the pace is breathless with Billy's superlative blend of powerhouse ferocity and subtle percussive shading allied to Alex Blake's electrifying floor shaking bass propelling the band relentlessly forward into jazz rock heaven. The horns stonk, growl and swagger but still find room for sublimely lyrical solos and with Abercrombie's stratospheric guitaring and dazzling keys from Leviev the music rages, twists, turns, dances and soars and will leave you completely tripped out that so much music can emanate from so few fingers. But for all it's incendiary brilliance it still manages to leave space for the music to breathe and flow, a rare feat in jazz fusion.
If you love jazz or fusion or funk or just superb music played with the kind of chops that leave prog rock "musos" for dust in terms of originality, passion and sheer virtuosity then SHABAZZ! - this is the album for you. Forget the mickey taking of the Mighty Boosh and Howard Moon this is real jazz fusion that will blow the day-glo socks off even a hardened cool-meister like Vince Noir! A seminal release in it's day and still the benchmark for all that follows Billy Cobham and his band are truly legendary and this is arguably their finest moment. All of Billy's 70's albums are well worth checking out as too is his other live offering 'Alivemutherforya'.
Anyone wishing to know what drumming is all about, look no further than Mr William Cobham Jnr. For a live recording the sound quality and the performance are very good indeed. I particularly enjoyed the two tracks off 'Spectrum', Taurian Matador and Red Baron. A real bargan at £2.49.