Back when “fusion” wasn’t yet considered a dirty word within the popular music vernacular, drummer Billy Cobham participated in several landmark recordings which brought non-swing rhythms and electric instrumentation to jazz. Cobham was picked by Miles Davis for recording sessions that would eventually yield such game-changing albums as “Bitches Brew.” Cobham later helped to found the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Within the context of that group, Cobham helped to blur the perceived lines between progressive rock, jazz and world music, in the process opening the minds of rock audiences during the high-volume sets. (The Mahavishnu concert recorded for radio’s King Biscuit Flower Hour in the 1970s documented a show at the Century Theatre and is regarded a milestone in our area’s concert history.)
Cobham later put together Spectrum, and released an album widely held to be one of the more dynamic and musical offerings of the first great wave of jazz fusion. To mark that album’s 40th birthday, Cobham has assembled Spectrum 40, a band centered around his dynamic and dramatic drumming, and aided by the considerable contributions of Jerry Goodman on violin, Dean Brown on guitar, Gary Husband on piano and Ric Fierabracci on bass. The collective plays at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). Tickets are $26 advance, $29 day of show (box office, Ticketmaster).
– Jeff Miers