Re: Billy Cobham
One often overlooked attribute of Billy Cobham was his versatility.
Before Mahavishnu, he was a Broadway show drummer, reading percussion charts in an orchestra pit. He has a reputation as one of the best sight readers in the business, and is one of the all time in demand studio session drummers. Check out his massive discography sometime. And, in addition to being a fusion pioneer, he's also a great big band, bebop, funk and rock drummer as well.
The only thing I haven't heard BC do is any latin style drumming. Which is surprising since he was born in Panama.