Billy Cobham

aydee

Platinum Member
Totally agree. Its interesting for me to trace the evolution of drummers, and I think Billy is the link between a Tony Williams and say, Vinnie Colauita.

Billy was one of the founding fathers of the jazz infused back beat that had the power of rock, and the intricacy of jazz, which in the late 70s, created this whole new genre of music we now insipidly call jazz rock.

His album Spectrum, is also a seminal work of not just of great drumming ,but also of great writing.
 
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Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I was looking for the Cobham thread and couldn't find it either. So I went to youtube and watched this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2VYKgFBH3A

He's one of the more creative drummers out there with a host of solo albums and great compositions. I know in the latter seventies people used to say Billy couldn't groove, that was when those fusion guys were looked down upon.

That's what happens when people don't 'listen.'
 

Ben Tormey

Senior Member
I missed a chance to see Billy Cobham playing in my area recently, the event was hardly publicised and I was quite annoyed that the event organisers hadn't done more.

He's one of a small number of players who really inspire me to get on the kit and do something different. The bass drum shuffle on Quadrant 4 was a revelation to me when I first heard it.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
A Billy story:

This has nothing to do with how great Billy is or is'nt, but back in '81, I had gone to hear Billy at a little music club in Greenwich Village, New York, called THE BOTTOM LINE.

Billy was to go on at 9pm, but I'd gotten to the club a little early.

Strains of loud music were emerging through the doors of the club, as I walked up to the counter clerk.

" Who's opening for him ?"
I asked him.

" Oh, some band called Police or something.. from the UK" he replied in a sleepy voice.

" what kind of music? " I continued, trying to decide if they were worth a listen

..... "Some punk BS" he said.

I decided to kill a half hour walking around the neighborhood, and returned to the club after a chilidog & diet coke, to the closing strains of Roxanne.

A few months later, you could hear nothing else on the radio.

Oh, and by the way, Billy blew my mind wide open that night, and I still have'nt fully recovered.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
anybody have a RED BARON transcription that they could post up on the forum. Havent found it on the net.
 

Dr_Funky

Member
Billy Cobham is the fusion drummer of our time. I'd kill to have his hand technique and his speed around the drums. On top of that, his musicianship and ability to listen to other musicians was unmatched.
 

Citizen Insane

Senior Member
Billy Cobham is one of the best drummers who ever lived. He has it all, blazing chops, deep pocket, creativity, you name it. aswell as a great drummer, he is a great song writer.
And has wrote some brilliant music with his band.
 

Totalpkg

Junior Member
I just went and saw him play a show called Spectrum Revisited at Yoshi's in San Francisco on saturday. It was an absolutely amazing show. Everything about it was spectacular. I was definitely blown away (this being my first live show).
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Where does one go now to find information about BC: concerts, clinics? His website has been down for the longest time.
 
A Billy story:

This has nothing to do with how great Billy is or is'nt, but back in '81, I had gone to hear Billy at a little music club in Greenwich Village, New York, called THE BOTTOM LINE.

Billy was to go on at 9pm, but I'd gotten to the club a little early.

Strains of loud music were emerging through the doors of the club, as I walked up to the counter clerk.

" Who's opening for him ?"
I asked him.

" Oh, some band called Police or something.. from the UK" he replied in a sleepy voice.

" what kind of music? " I continued, trying to decide if they were worth a listen

..... "Some punk BS" he said.

I decided to kill a half hour walking around the neighborhood, and returned to the club after a chilidog & diet coke, to the closing strains of Roxanne.

A few months later, you could hear nothing else on the radio.

Oh, and by the way, Billy blew my mind wide open that night, and I still have'nt fully recovered.

Brilliant story that!! Bet you were gutted mate :(

I saw billy cobham a few years back playin a clinic in Swansea was absolutley brilliant. Maybe i was biased though because he plays opened handed like me ;)
 

FunkItUp

Junior Member
I just saw Billy Cobham live about two weeks ago. I had heard that he might've lost a step or two with age based on a previous tour, but not on this tour. He hasn't lost a step. Billy nailed everything. Never got off once on his crazy fills which I heard happened a tiny bit back in 2003/2004 on his Spectrum reunion tour.

He's in the process of recording a 3 or 4 volume set (don't remember which) of new stuff with his New York band. He played a lot of stuff off of the first volume when I saw him and it sounds amazing. I think he's in the process of recording the second volume now.

Then he played Quadrant 4 off of Spectrum. One of the craziest grooves I've heard. He plays a blisteringly fast double bass shuffle with a ridiculous ride pattern overlaid. I mean, I know it sounds great on the album, but hearing live was really something remarkable.

Anyone: if he's coming to town, get out and see Billy Cobham. It's an incredible experience. Being a left hand/right foot lead drummer like he is, I do naturally take a lot from his setup and technique. but I think that everyone can learn so much from just one night of hearing this guy live. I know I was inspired.
 

Pavlos

Senior Member
Funny this thread should pop up. I was just listening to Jack Johnson yesterday. Love BC's work on that one. And love this from wikipedia. They all just show up and look what happens.

"The first major recording session for the album, which took place on April 7, 1970, was almost accidental: John McLaughlin, awaiting Miles's arrival, began improvising riffs on his guitar, and was shortly joined by Michael Henderson and Billy Cobham. Meanwhile, the producers brought in Herbie Hancock, who had been passing through the building on unrelated business, to play the Farfisa organ. Miles arrived at last and began his solo at about 2:19 on the first track."


Where does one go now to find information about BC: concerts, clinics? His website has been down for the longest time.
http://www.billycobham.com/html/index.php

Looks like it's back up. Billy is one of the all time greats. One of my faves is Mahavishnu's Between Nothingness and Eternity which is a live album from the early 70s. Poor sound quality but great playing.
 

supermac

Senior Member
Billy, in my opinion, is one of the greatest ever drummers.

I was totally blown away when I first heard him as a kid.

Yet, he seems strangely under-rated and doesn't get too many namechecks in drum magazines and forums etc

After trying for years, recently managed to nail the monstrous double-bass drum shuffle he does on the song Quadrant 4. Great fun to play...
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Cobham's hertas on the original recording of Stratus off the Spectrum album remain one of the definitive, "You gotta be sh**tin' me, did he really play that?" drum licks of my lifetime. You have to slow those things down to half-speed before they sound playable.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yet, he seems strangely under-rated and doesn't get too many namechecks in drum magazines and forums etc
I beg to differ about the underrated part. I think Billy has reached that echelon where it is just assumed he is one of the greatest. Like Buddy Rich, even if he's never mentioned, he's still there as one of the bars to reach for. It's like saying Tony Williams, or Max Roach, or Papa Joe Jones....
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Yet, he seems strangely under-rated and doesn't get too many namechecks in drum magazines and forums etc
..
Flip through Modern Drummers of the late 70's and early 80's and he's pretty much on every page.

In the 90's, he switched endorsements several times, which may have killed of some enthusiasm for putting him in ads.

But as Bo said, saying Billy is underrated is like trying to say Tony is under rated.
 
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