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Paradox: Paradox

Before fusion engaged in a seemingly unbreakable love affair with elevators, it amplified stadiums globally with joyous eruptions of lacerating electric guitars and orchestral keyboards intertwined with blaring horn sections. Underneath those plugged-in sound collages were molten hotbeds of relentless rock and hand percussion that propelled all the pyro-madness with funk-informed grooves. Recalling the glory slickophonic years of fusion-rock, Paradox thumps mightily with the same frenetic electricity, extroverted pyrotechnics and herculean strength that elevated the careers of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Weather Report to rock star status.

Comprised of fusion veterans, drummer Billy Cobham, bassist Wolfgang Schmid, and guitarist Bill Bickford, this all-star trio stomps like a thumperasaurus monster abruptly awakening from a deep sleep. The combined steroid power of Cobham’s muscular backbeats and nasty drum fills, Schmid’s thick elastic basslines, and Bickford’s electromagnolia guitar musings are a force to be reckoned. From the opening “Fonkey Donkey” which strangely gallops with a subversive nod to Ornette Coleman’s rowdier electric years, to Cobham’s ’70s classic, “Quadrant 4,” which features the drumming juggernaut hammering some of his best soloing in recent years, this trio goes for broke with nearly every note. Although subtlety isn’t a main ingredient in their repertoire, the relative soft “Walking In Five” and “Late Nite” offer brief moments of quieter pleasures.

Light years from being a classic in any sort, Paradox does however provide ample evidence that the ’70s jazz era was not a complete waste.

Originally Published