Generally acclaimed as fusion's greatest drummer, Billy Cobham's explosive technique powered some of the genre's most important early recordings – including groundbreaking efforts by Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra – before he became an accomplished bandleader in his own right. At his best, Cobham harnessed his amazing dexterity into thundering, high-octane hybrids of jazz complexity and rock & roll aggression.
While organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith, he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk. Since the same band – vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, guitarist Eddie McFadden, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Leo Stevens – played on both sets, and since both albums aren't very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same CD. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy, because one doesn't usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos.
Atomic Rooster experienced several lineup changes during their initial tenure in the early '70s, with Nice 'n' Greasy being the band's last before disbanding. By this time the band's musical direction had shifted from hard rock and progressive rock to a style more closely resembling blues/funk…
This two-fer combines two early-'60s dates for Johnny "Hammond" Smith, a gifted organist who had the chops to play more complex jazz changes while keeping the groove deep. Both of these dates were originally released on Riverside. Black Coffee, a club gig, was issued in 1962 with a lineup of saxophonist Seldon Powell, guitarist Eddie McFadden, and drummer Leo Stevens. Smith walks the line between beautifully rendered standards such as "Body and Soul" and "I Remember Clifford," as well as some hard-edged soul-jazz stompers including the title track and his own "Rufus Toofus."
Since he was eight years old, Richard Hammond's dream has been to be a wildlife photographer in the Amazon rainforest. But life got in the way and, for more than 35 years, he's been unable to fulfil his ambition. Until now… thanks to two special one-hour films he presents in support of Sky Rainforest Rescue, Sky's partnership with WWF, which has helped save one billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. Filmed in the Brazilian rainforest, it charts Hammond's journey along the mighty Amazon River and deep into the jungle as he attempts to photograph the creatures that captivated him all those years ago. Along the way, he's treated to unique wildlife encounters as he enters the river with pink river dolphins and rescues an entangled sloth. It's not all plain sailing, though, as he battles heat, humidity and torrential rain. He also confronts personal phobias when he comes face-to-face with giant spiders, feels the wrath of bullet ants and must conquer his fear of heights when he is hoisted high into the forest canopy.