Billy Cobham: Quadrant 4
Billy Cobham (drums, percussion)
Spectrum (Atlantic 7268-2)
Tommy Bolin (guitar), Lee Sklar (Fender bass).
Composed by Billy Cobham.
Recorded: New York, mid-May, 1973
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
"Quadrant 4" is the opening cut to Cobham's landmark fusion debut Spectrum. Cobham and Hammer were both still in the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time of this recording. But "Quadrant 4" was not Mahavishnu in any way. It certainly came from the same burgeoning genre, but it was devoid of any spiritual allusions or grand design. It leaned much more toward an R&B fusion than anything else. Cobham and Moog synthesizer player Hammer open the tune in full throttle. Hammer, as he did in those days, plays the Moog with guitar phrasing – while the powerful Cobham double-times and double-times again. The playful blues-tinged head arrangement enters as Hammer and guitarist Tommy Bolin play in a fiery unison. What guitar playing! Bolin absolutely kills in a legendary performance. His oscillating solo turn seems to come straight from his belt buckle. At this time, we already knew how brilliant Cobham and Hammer were. But hearing Bolin's searing playing was a revelation of the highest order. We all looked forward to the future fusion superstar Bolin. Alas, it was not to be. But, we will always have this performance.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky