Just got back from a weekend in London which included a great night out at Ronnie Scott’s.
The headline act, The Billy Cobham Band, were fantastic. Hadn’t come across Billy Cobham before even though he’s been around since the 60’s, but then, Weather Report aside, I’m not a huge fan of the fusion/funk end of the Jazz spectrum. I confess to being a bit disappointed when I noticed that the line up didn’t include a sax and more than a little worried when I noticed it did include a steel pan. So much for my prejudices. Junior Gill was superb and fitted in seamlessly.
The band as whole were tighter than whatever it is ducks themselves use as a simile for being tight. And talk about presence! Like a nuclear submarine deep below the polar ice-cap: thrumming with energy and effortlessly cool at the same time. This was live music as it’s surely supposed to be, an event, of the moment, a happening.
I’m not sure I’ll be buying any Billy Cobham albums. There’s other stuff I’d rather give my time and money to. But as a live set this will take some beating. It’s good to go out for a night and to walk back excited by what you’ve just heard.
Full line up: Billy Cobham – drums; Jean-Marie Ecay – guitar; Fifi Chayeb – bass; Junior Gill - steel pan; Christophe Cravero – keyboards and violin(!); Marco Lobo – percussions.
Here's a clip of Billy doing his stuff back in 1987.