“The passage I was to take began with this album. International influences, acknowledging, embracing, and celebrating the variations of diaspora, seeking the connections of humanity through musical expression—all was activated with this collection of music.” (Todd Cochran speaking of his debut LP)
Put very simply, Todd Thomas Cochran was a child prodigy whose extensive career has spanned over many years, steering through numerous musical shifts, over an assortment of prolific releases. A pianist, producer and arranger, Cochran grew up in San Francisco, just in time to be inspired and absorbed by the ever-changing psychedelic scene of the time. Sometimes performing as Bayeté or Umbra Zindiko, he has worked with the likes of Bobby Hutcherson, Peter Gabriel, Aretha Franklin, Stanley Clarke, Mtume, and Herbie Hancock, among many others.
To summarise Cochran’s musical path and to try to pinpoint what genre to slot him into is an almost impossible task and in the few moments I have spent reading about his extensive career, I’ve come to realise that there is just too much to cover! One blogger, who has clearly done plenty of research, summed up this dilemma by saying: “One of the reasons that there are seemingly no comprehensive overviews of Todd Cochran’s career online is that his musical shifts have been so radical, and so unpredictable, that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s seriously in love with all of the periods of his work…”
This same blogger has taken the time to break down Cochran’s works into an eleven chapter history, which is really digestible and definitely worth checking out if you want to discover more. Find that here.
For my part, I am here to share a song for this day and this can be found on his debut album, Worlds Around The Sun. Released in 1972 on Prestige records, Cochran penned, recorded, produced and played keys over the whole LP; recording under the name Bayeté. For its sublime fusions of jazz and funk, this record remains highly collectible forty years later! Free Angela’ (Thoughts And All I’ve Got To Say) was popularised by Santana on their 1973 album, Lotus, but Todd Cochran had released this (at a mere 21 years old) the year before. The funk is free flowing with a groove to match! What a way to spend five minutes! Check it out above.