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Atkins occasionally produces gimmicky sounds but he is uniformly delightful when officiating as a straightforward pianist, trumpeter, vibraphonist, or what-have-you

Review

Good jazz with a rock tilt

On Warning, Bill Cobham's tilt towards rock is more pronounced, and he is more on home ground as regards both his sidemen and the music

Billy Cobham: Warning
Music Gallery India Pvt Ltd
Rs 125

This second Billy Cobham album released by Music Gallery has him leading what is probably an Anglo-American band as against the Scandinavian outfit he presented on Off Colour. There are other differences too. Off Colour was basically mainstream jazz by a band that is fairly prominent in Europe, with Cobham adding star value and a slight tilt towards jazz-rock. Here the line-up is -- to me -- unknown, and the tilt towards jazz-rock is more pronounced, so that Cobham is more on home ground as regards both his sidemen and the music.

The sidemen in question are Gerry Atkins on keyboards (using it not only as a piano but as various other instruments, including vibraphone and a sax-like wind instrument, but especially trumpet), Baron Browne on bass, Dean Brown on guitar and Sam Davis on percussion. Davis's work must be rather unobtrusive since I don't seem to have noticed it. (Perhaps I should listen again, and more carefully, to find something to say, but then again I'd perhaps just end up definitively calling it unobtrusive!)

Of the others in the supporting cast, both Brown and Browne take some interesting solos as well as participate in duo interactions. Brown, however, is the most frequently irritating (by no means uniformly so) member of the group, often resorting to the rock-style electronic gimmickry that puts off partisans of mainstream jazz. Atkins too occasionally produces gimmicky sounds but he is uniformly delightful when officiating as a straightforward pianist, trumpeter, vibraphonist, or what-have-you. He is of course most talented when doing gentle or intricate solos on ``piano''.

Cobham as the leader shows ample evidence of his versatility as a drummer. His varied rhythms are the highlight of the music. Sometimes he uses the heavy, loud beat of jazz-rock, but on the whole his drumming, the solos in particular, demonstrates the subtlety and importance of his instrument(s) in mainstream jazz.

In this respect, as well as in the extent and variety of improvised solos by the other musicians, the music on this album checks its tilt towards jazz-rock.

Jazzebel

Published on 13 September 2002




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