Title - 'Mirror's Image' / 'Reflected Journey'
Artist - Billy Cobham
Well, well, well! This is a delightful, and completely unexpected new release set of delights, I have to say. With drummers and jazz aficionados worldwide now all smiling and rubbing their hands in gleeful delight with the news, drum legend Billy Cobham is releasing two live albums on Cleopatra Records.
The first has just been released this February and is entitled Mirror's Image, and it will be followed by Reflected Journey in late April. The albums are actually two parts of the same show recorded in Tokyo on February 15th, 1992.
For those not in the know, and shame on you if you're in the music industry; even at just any level, William "Billy" Cobham is a Panamanian American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader, who permanently relocated to Switzerland during the late 1970s.
Prior to this concert, and these subsequent live recordings, Cobham had recorded eight studio albums, his last one, Inner Conflicts in 1978. Cobham, known for his ensemble work led by pianist Horace Silver, branched out to jazz fusion - which blended elements of jazz, rock and funk - playing and recording with the Brecker Brothers (notably in their 1970-founded group Dreams), and guitarist John Abercrombie, before recording and touring extensively with trumpeter Miles Davis.
In 1992, working under the auspices of UNICEF, Cobham set out for Brazil, where he would be working with autistic outpatients and street children in Santos, a suburb of Sao Paulo. Through everything that Cobham witnessed on those streets, a new project came into being; a band in which the voices and talents of the street children would be harnessed alongside the talents of Cobham's latest combo - the visionary trio that he put together with the then all-but unknown Ira Coleman on double bass, and Australian Joe Chindamo on piano.
February 1992 saw Cobham, Coleman and Chindamo arrive in Japan, where they came together, evoked by the spirit of those street stories and the children that inhabited them; the layers upon layers of shadows cast, the unavoidable specter's they witnessed and took away with them. And so they performed this incredible, breathtaking show from which these two newly-released albums have been drawn.
With all the tracks reworked and rearranged for the demands of the night, let alone the skills of the three piece, Cobham entices the best out of both his musical comrades this night. It truly is a mark of the trio and they standings in the genres; and as musicians, that the reworked pieces slipped gracefully into each other to create two delightful works of musical art.
Listen to both these albums now, back-to-back, for yourself and you'll see exactly what I am trying to relate to you. It's like you are in a other time and place, another world where the music is perfect, the instrumentation as precise, as fresh as nothing you've ever heard before. Both Mirror's Image and Reflected Journey are musical visions personified by the aging of time and brought to a new audience thereafter.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk