Billy Cobham – “Heather”

Another snow day.

Since I moved to D.C., I’ve had more days off on account of snow than I’ve ever had growing up in Canada, and while everyone else is grousing about the endless snowfall this afternoon and the fact that spring is MIA, I’ve been chillin’.

…Well, not literally chillin’, but you know what I mean.

Anyhow, this is one of those nights where you relax at home, maybe have a drink or two, and just listen to something smooth. And I’ve got the perfect listen for ya.

Drummer Billy Cobham emerged in the latter half of the ’60s to become one of jazz fusion’s prominent figures, working with Miles DavisJohn McLaughlinGrover Washington, Jr, and many others. In the early ’70s he became a band leader with a string of notable releases, and one of his most enduring tracks, one I’ve been vibing to all evening, is this listen right here.

From his ’74 record, Crosswinds, “Heather” forever will be a significant track, especially to hip-hop, as immortalized by the Bay Area crew Souls of Mischief on their masterful 1993 song, “’93 Til Infinity.” That listen will forever remain a hip-hop classic, and part of the reason why, aside from the top-notch rhymin’ of the Heiro crew, is the aura and feel of the song’s original sample.

“Heather” redefines smooth. It’s an understated listen, very calm and contemplative. I dig the keys and the looming synth note in the background.  It’s a quiet song, but it’s  deliberate… the track simmers and ruminates until that excellent, and appropriately loud sax comes in towards the 4-minute mark, dominating the affair and moving things forward. It’s a real headnodder, and I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of bliss as you put this on and watch the snow fall outside.

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