While each song captures a different mood, all provide good
the musical and sonic horizons of listeners. Indeed the
introduction of the steelpan
with non- cliché like Caribbean lines
frees the instrument and player (Junior Gill) to take on greater
meaning and expression, and thereby contributes greatly to the freshness of the
musical concepts and voicing of the pan. Steel Pan player Junior Gill has great
command of the instrument and brings a new voice like the
synthesizer to the jazz fusion
tapestry, that has not been visited since the days of Return To Ever
and Weather Report.
The Steelpan is an integral part of
the sound of Culturemix, as much as the distinctive sound of Billy
Cobham drumming. While always clearly in charge, Cobham is a
not afraid to share the spotlight long and often with the members of
Culturemix on Colours. The result is an artistic masterpiece of authentic JAZZ Fusion -- with a realistic taste of the
Afro-Caribbean experience always right around the corner when
the culmination of Cobham's vision, band leadership, writing and
production, assembled musicians from all over the world to form
Culturemix. The ten-track recording is a colorful blend of ambient
music, funky and smooth soul-jazz and blistering rock fusion. It
features, as he himself says, the "shared concepts" of these
The opener, Cuba On The Horizon, is a film
score-like jam that features Cobham's command, dexterity and ability
to funk like few have ever. The soul-jazz tune features a soaring
rock guitar and steelpan melody, combined with Marcos Ubeda's playful
The second track is Desiccated Coconuts, which
features the soulfulness of
Junior Gill as he solos on the tenor
pan. There is a playful blend of Rock/Funk/Jazz genres as the
band moves into a reggae-filled interlude with steelpan riding
shotgun. But there’s no time to relax, as listeners will be happily
jolted out of their comfort zone by the funk/rock-oriented fiery mix of
percussion and rock lead guitar, but always returning to its
Culturemix gives you a choice of rocking your
head, snapping your fingers or getting up and dancing. Serious
Volcano swings and rocks from top to bottom while
overdriven guitar and steelpan double on melody lines giving a new
and never-before-heard voice and statement. Although, this was
recorded in a studio the track has the energy of a live performance.
Indeed the musicians sound like they are at a monstrous jam session
and having a blast.
The next track is a favorite, Where Do We Go From Here,
a pretty melodic piece featuring the steelpan and keyboards, and
rides on top classic calypso rhythms.
CARA MIA is a blues-jazz ballad that involves a relaxed
melody and bass solo that is contrasted by Cobham's colorful drum
and cymbal work.
Moscow Meeting -
takes us back to a mellow
bluesy jazz realm, where a colorful acoustic guitar harmonic melody
melds with steelpan and electronic keyboards.
us know they can swing with best.
Next up is Coffee
Brown-Olive Green -
a relaxed piece featuring Guy Barker who is
on Trumpet, with a bossa nova feel, while the continued layering of
trumpet and pan gives a new, intriguing, previously-unheard sound.
Black Orchid - a rockin’ jam session amidst the overall
cool vibe, which continues on the ultra-soulful title track.
Guy Barker's trumpet closes out the track leaving you wishing it was
not closing down.
There and Back - an eclectic piece that
the storytelling capabilities of Billy Cobham and moreover what
is about, a combination of great musicians from different
parts of the globe.
The album closes with a snappy funk number, Red & Yellow
Cabriolet. The spirited horn of Barker works as a beautiful
counterpoint to Gill's tenor pan R&B-influenced melodic riffs.
Of course all this works because there is the master Billy Cobham
sitting there in the pocket holding down the fort.
Colours does not
disappoint. Great work led by one of the true musical giants.
has developed a group sound with a purpose, creating complex arrangements
in addition to their improvised solos. The bottom line is
these cats are operating on a high level.
Reviewed by: WST