Notice that bassline? Recognise it? You should. Its the sample that Massive Attack used for “Safe From Harm” on the album Blue Lines. However, lets put that aside for a moment and take a look at the track itself. Probably one of the most involved Jazz Funk tracks ever released, the bassline from Lee Sklar absolutely smashing the opposition, quality drum work from Billy Cobham and some crazy ass guitar waah’s from Tommy Brolin (later of Deep Purple). Total legend.
Cobham branched out to jazz fusion, which blended elements of jazz, rock and roll and funk, playing and recording with the Brecker Brothers (notably on their 1970-founded group Dreams), and guitarist John Abercrombie, before recording and touring extensively with trumpeter Miles Davis. Cobham’s work with Davis appears on A Tribute to Jack Johnson, among other recordings. Cobham is also one of the first drummers to play open handed lead: a drummer that can lead (or ride) with either hand and begin or end a beat or fill with either hand (most drummers lead with 1 hand). He was also one of the first drummers to play with 3 or more snare and/or bass drums and multiple hi-hats.
The preface to his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra was his work on guitarist John McLaughlin’s album My Goal’s Beyond.
In 1971, with fellow Davis alumnus McLaughlin, Cobham co-founded Mahavishnu Orchestra, a definitive jazz fusion ensemble. Cobham toured extensively from 1971 to 1973 with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, who released two studio albums and one live album. The original studio versions of tunes on the live album were later released as The Lost Trident Sessions in 1999.
In May 1973, while still with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham recorded his first solo album Spectrum with keyboardist Jan Hammer, from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, guitarist Tommy Bolin, who later played with heavy rock band Deep Purple, and bassist Lee Sklar.