This isn’t a masterpiece of jazz rock fusion by any means, but it is tasty. Billy Cobham and George Duke, along with guitarist John Scofield and bassist Alfonso Johnson server up a generous slice of seventies fusion, without too much of that disco flavor that was beginning to permeate the genre at the time.
Duke, fresh out of Frank Zappa’s band, gets to show off his twisted sense of humor on Space Lady, which harkens back to some of the improv work he did with Frank, but remains a throwaway piece. Johnson’s Almustafa The Beloved, a vocal piece, reminds me a bit of Stanley Clarke’s early compositions, albeit without the impossibly fast bass licks.
Disco does rear it’s ugly head on Duke’s Do What Cha Wanna. But it is tolerable disco, until that nasty string synth comes in during the break.
Okay, he’s got that out of his system. Now back to fusion. Frankenstein Goes To The Disco is a drum solo piece, featuring Cobham with some nice drum synth triggers (far more advanced than Carl Palmer’s just a few short years earlier).
Johnson plays a nice, but not mind blowing solo on the Chick Corea-like Sweet Wine. And the album closes appropriately with Juicy, where each band member in turn gets to shine.
Not an essential fusion album, but not a bad addition. (by Evolver)
Following two studio recordings, this impressive band hit the road and cut this session with keyboardist George Duke. Their encounter provided for an uneven, but infectious, recording. “Hip Pockets,” composed by Cobham, and “Ivory Tattoo,” composed by Scofield, begin the session with some intense playing. Things get a bit goofy with “Space Lady” (a song which probably worked better live), and a bit melodramatic with “Almustafa the Beloved.” “Do What Cha Wanna” features Duke on vocals and, ironically, made it onto Cobham’s Best of Billy Cobham. The closer, “Frankenstein Goes to the Disco,” is primarily a vehicle for Cobham, while “Sweet Wine” and “Juicy” are good jam sessions. Despite some corny moments, this is a fun session that continues to be one of Cobham’s most sought after recordings. (by Robert Taylor)
Billy Cobham (drums, drum synthesizer, background vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, vocals)
Alphonso Johnson (bass, chapman stick, vocals)
John Scofield (guitar)
Jon Lucien (narrator on 04.)
01. Hip Pockets (Cobham) 7.10
02. Ivory Tattoo (Scofield) 4.36
03. Space Lady (Duke) 4.37
04. Almustafa The Beloved (Johnson) 6.52
05. Do What Cha Wanna (Duke) 4.35
06. Frankenstein Goes To The Disco (Cobham) 7.10
07. Sweet Wine (Cobham) 4.00
08. Juicy (Duke) 7.20
A chapman stick