COZY POWELL -- The Best of Cozy Powell (Polydor)

Cozy Powell is probably best known for his consummate drumming with the Jeff Beck Group in the early 70's. In 1975, he joined forces with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow on the Rainbow Rising album. After a five-year stint in Rainbow, he assumed the difficult task of filling in for Carl Palmer in ELP (and enabling the group to keep the same acronym) while Palmer was in Asia. The thing that most people don't know is that he produced three solo albums of instrumental jazz-rock. This CD is a compilation of those three albums.

Powell's albums, while concentrating on drums, always featured great lineups of musicians. Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, David Sancious, Jack Bruce and Max Middleton are just a few of the ones appearing on the CD. The synths on "Killer" sound dated when you hear them now, but the guitar and bass riffs produced by Moore and Bruce speak for themselves. "Sweet Poison" was one of the highlights on his first (and best) album, Over the Top, and is included here. "The Loner" could have easily fit in on any one of Jeff Beck's 70's albums.

Most of the cuts from the other two albums, Tilt and Octopuss, are good too. "Cat Moves" features Beck himself on guitar. "The Blister" sounds like "Killer" part two--basically the same melody, only faster. On the Octopuss album, Powell started experimenting with an orchestra, but the results sounded like little more than a movie score. "Dartmoore" is a blues workout for Gary Moore, and another highlight on the CD. The Best of Cozy Powell marks the US debut of this material on CD, and takes a comprehensive look at the solo career of one of rock's best drummers. If you're a fan of Jeff Beck's Wired, Blow by Blow, and There and Back albums, don't miss this CD.

© 1997 Steve Marshall