Records - Billy Cobham (4 stars)

Billy Cobham, Colin Towns HR Big Band


Meeting of the Spirits (In and Out)


Sub-titled ‘A Celebration of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’, this project takes on the improbable challenge of recasting the music of John McLaughlin’s seminal electric fusion outfit for a big band, and succeeds triumphantly. The process involves shaping the music into new aural configurations, but retains the energy and much of the spirit of that band, and emphasises the often unacknowledged intricacy of McLaughlin’s compositions.

Colin Towns was the ideal choice for the task of arranging the music, supported by the input of the original Mahavishnu drummer, Billy Cobham, who lends his authentic experience to the project, and drives the band from the drum chair in his usual formidable fashion. The German big band rise to the challenge in fine style, playing the arrangements superbly and soloing in convincing fashion not only on guitar, but also across a range of instruments that were never part of the original Mahavishnu concept, but work superbly here.


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