Billy Cobham: Life & Times


Life & Times


Billy Cobham (percussion, Moog)


Life & Times (Atlantic)

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Billy Cobham (percussion, Moog), John Scofield (guitar),

Dawilli Gonga (keyboards), Alan Zavod (organ), Doug Rauch (bass)


Composed by Billy Cobham


Recorded: New York, 1976


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Life & Times is generally considered to be an uneven album. But the title track is one of Cobham's stronger post-Spectrum tunes. "Life & Times" begins its life as a series of disembodied ambient sounds, which soon fall away to an urgent theme. The style of the syncopated main melody comes straight out of the early Frank Zappa wing of jazz-rock. For the best comparison, listen to "Zombie Woof" from Over-Nite Sensation. Cobham and Scofield play their asses off. We always have high expectations when listening to such superstars. In a way, this does a disservice to their performances. We can never be surprised. But keyboardist Dawilli Gonga steals the show here. He is every bit as good as Jan Hammer on this blazing cut. You say you never heard of Dawilli Gonga? And if he is so great, what ever happened to him? Dawilli Gonga was actually former Zappa sideman George Duke, who used this pseudonym from time to time. (In a deep voice), "And now you know the rest of the story…"

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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