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BILLY COBHAM

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Billy Cobham biography
William C. (aka BILLY) COBHAM was born on May 16th, 1944 in Panama and moved to New York City when he was just three years old. Flirting with congas and steel drums at the early age of five, Billy started his musical career. He played his first gig with his dad when he was just eight, in New York, 5 years after moving from Panama in 1947.


Beyond already having a superb musical ear and dynamic technique, he refined his musical education in the New York's High School of Music and Art, in which he learnt more drumming techniques and music theory. He graduated in 1962 and began playing in the United States Army Band from 1965 to 1968.


In 1968 he played with various jazz artists, including jazz pianist HORACE SILVER, sax player STANLEY TURRENTINE, organist SHIRLEY SCOTT and guitarist GEORGE BENSON on the album "Giblet Gravy".


His career as a jazz rock artist started with no other than the most talked-about jazz musician of the time: MILES DAVIS. He recorded five albums with Miles, including "Bitches Brew" (in which he was uncredited). It was a giant leap for him, and through Miles Davis he met JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, who would later recruit Billy in the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA in 1973, one of his most recalled works in the jazz-rock genre. Before the Mahavishnu period he also co-founded the fusion band DREAMS; which featured figures of the calibre of MICHAEL BRECKER and JOHN ABERCROMBIE; also in that band was RANDY BRECKER, DON GROLNICK, BARRY RODGERS and WILL LEE.


In 1973 he recorded his debut solo album, "Spectrum", which featured TOMMY BOLIN on guitar, JAN HAMMER on keyboards, JOE FARRELL on sax and flute, RON CARTER on acoustic bass, LEE SKLAR on electric bass, JIMMY OWENS on trumpet and RAY BARRETTO on congas. This time around he assembled a musical organization consisting of former DREAMS mates MICHAEL BRECKER on sax, RANDY BRECKER on trumpet and newcomers ALEX BLAKE (bass), MILCHO LIEVEV (keyboards), GLEN FERRIS (trombone) and LEE PASTORA (percussion); Cobham performed with the aforementioned band in the Montreax Jazz Festival; a performance which could be heard on the live album "Shabazz".


The trio Brecker, Brecker and Abercrombie remained with Cobham to record "Crosswinds" in 1974. Newcomers for the album were bassist JOHN WILLIAMS, trombonist GARNETT BROWN and renowned keyboardist GEORGE DUKE. The album had a similar style to "Spectrum", and not as funky as "Total Eclipse", which was released the same year with the same line-up as ...


Beyond already having a superb musical ear and dynamic technique, he refined his musical education in the New York's High School of Music and Art, in which he learnt more drumming techniques and music theory. He graduated in 1962 and began playing in the United States Army Band from 1965 to 1968.


In 1968 he played with various jazz artists, including jazz pianist HORACE SILVER, sax player STANLEY TURRENTINE, organist SHIRLEY SCOTT and guitarist GEORGE BENSON on the album "Giblet Gravy".


His career as a jazz rock artist started with no other than the most talked-about jazz musician of the time: MILES DAVIS. He recorded five albums with Miles, including "Bitches Brew" (in which he was uncredited). It was a giant leap for him, and through Miles Davis he met JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, who would later recruit Billy in the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA in 1973, one of his most recalled works in the jazz-rock genre. Before the Mahavishnu period he also co-founded the fusion band DREAMS; which featured figures of the calibre of MICHAEL BRECKER and JOHN ABERCROMBIE; also in that band was RANDY BRECKER, DON GROLNICK, BARRY RODGERS and WILL LEE.


In 1973 he recorded his debut solo album, "Spectrum", which featured TOMMY BOLIN on guitar, JAN HAMMER on keyboards, JOE FARRELL on sax and flute, RON CARTER on acoustic bass, LEE SKLAR on electric bass, JIMMY OWENS on trumpet and RAY BARRETTO on congas. This time around he assembled a musical organization consisting of former DREAMS mates MICHAEL BRECKER on sax, RANDY BRECKER on trumpet and newcomers ALEX BLAKE (bass), MILCHO LIEVEV (keyboards), GLEN FERRIS (trombone) and LEE PASTORA (percussion); Cobham performed with the aforementioned band in the Montreax Jazz Festival; a performance which could be heard on the live album "Shabazz".


The trio Brecker, Brecker and Abercrombie remained with Cobham to record "Crosswinds" in 1974. Newcomers for the album were bassist JOHN WILLIAMS, trombonist GARNETT BROWN and renowned keyboardist GEORGE DUKE. The album had a similar style to "Spectrum", and not as funky as "Total Eclipse", which was released the same year with the same line-up as "Crosswinds". Billy by then had leaned more toward jazz-funk, in the same vein as HERBIE HANCOCK; a direction much criticized even more since "A Funky Thide of Sings".


In the same year he made another performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival with the same band as in the "Shabazz" album. It was recorded and featured on the live album "Life & Times" and also featured performances at the Rainbow Theatre, in London. A year later "A Funky Thide Of Sings" and later on "Inner Conflicts" were recorded, but while in the former Billy used the same "Shabazz" and "Life & Times" line-up, in the latter only JOHN WILLIAMS from the "Crosswinds" sessions remained, being invited to the set ERNIE WATTS (sax), JULIAN PRIESTER (trombone), JOHN SCOFIELD (guitar) and SHEILA ESCOVEDO (percussion).


In 1976 he made a concert tour with keyboardist GEORGE DUKE in the U.S.A and Europe. They also played and recorded in that year's edition of the Montreaux Jazz Festival, which would be released on the "Cobham/Duke Live" album.


In 1977 Cobham switched to CBS Records and made all the albums from 1977 through 1980 under that label: "A Live Mother For Ya" (with ALPHONSO THOMPSON, TOM SCOTT and STEVE KAHN), "Magic" (featuring PETE and SHEILA ESCOVEDO), "Montreaux Summit" (with DEXTER GORDON, BENNY GOLSON, STAN GETZ, ERIC GALE, MAYNARD FERGUSON, BOBBY HUMPHREYS, GEORGE DUKE and BOB JAMES).


By 1980 he resigned his contract with CBS and began playing for other artists such as THE GRATEFUL DEAD and JACK BRUCE, as well as the Saturday Night Live Band. In 1981 he recorded "Flight Time" under the INAKUSTIC label in Cologne, Germany; called to the session were guitarist BARRY FINNERTY, keyboardist DON GROLNICK and bassist TIM LANDERS. In the same year he participated in the International Percussion Festival in Seattle, along the likes of OKUTA PERCUSSION (Nigeria), ZAKIR HUSSAIN, ALA RAKKA KAHN (India) and the one and only, timbales master TITO PUENTE.


Later on in the early 80's he formed his new quartet "The Glass Menagerie" with DEAN BROWN on guitar, MICHAL URBANIAK on violin and sax, TIM LANDERS on bass and GIL GOLDSTEIN on piano. With the quartet he recorded two albums in 1982 under the Elektra label: "Observations & Reflections" on January and "Smokin'" on July.


In the mid-80's he made more commercially-oriented albums for GRP: "Warning" (1985), "Power Play" (1986) and "Picture This" (1987). He then took a break from the studio to focus on international tours and to get acquainted with World Music. In the process he participated in PETER GABRIEL's project called "Passion" (Soundtrack for "The Last Temptation of Christ", a film by Martin Scorsese) in 1988. He would again work with Peter for the WOMAD festival in 1992.


In the 90's he formed two bands: one acoustic band called NORDIC in 1996 with Norwegian musicians and one German fusion band called PARADOX in 1997. He also performed with a band called JAZZ IS DEAD, which was more of a jazz tribute to THE GRATEFUL DEAD and released with them an album called "Blue Light Rain".


In 2002 he reunited with RANDY and MICHAEL BRECKER to release "Drum N Voice". Its sequel ("Drum N Voice 2") featured other well-known figures such as FRANK GAMBALE, JOHN PATITUCCI, AIRTO MOREIRA and JEFF BERLIN. In this album Cobham returned to the jazz-funk sound that characterized his mid-70's material.


Throughout his musical career he has released about 30 albums (counting only his own work) and played with countless number of artists, such as MCCOY TYNER, LARRY CORYELL, HORACE SILVER, GIL EVANS, FREDDIE HUBBARD, STANLEY CLARKE, GEORGE DUKE and RON CARTER, among others pop and jazz artists. He also made projects with educational tools, produced through his company Creative Multi-Media Concepts.



Jesus Gabriel Brea (Chus) - March 2007






Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
BILLY COBHAM is a key figure in the development of Jazz-Rock/Fusion, as well as being one of the very best drummers ever.



Discography:
Solo albums:

Spectrum (1973 - studio album)
Crosswinds (1974 - studio album)
Total Eclipse
Shabazz (1974 - live album)
A Funky Thide of Sings (1975 - studio album)
Life and Times
Live on Tour, Cobham/Duke, at the Montreux jazz Festival
Inner Conflicts
Simplicity of Expression (1978 - studio album)
Flight Time (1980 - live album)
Stratus (1981 - studio album)
Observations & Reflections
Smokin'
Warning - (1985 - studio album
Power Play (1986 - studio album)
Picture This (1987 - studio album)
The Best of Billy Cobham (1990 - compilation)
The Traveler (1994 - studio album)
Mississippi Nights: Billy Cobham Live (1998 - live album)
Magic/Symplicity of Expression, Depth of Thought (1998 - studio album)
Nordic / Off Color (1999 - studio album)
By Design (1999 - studio album)
Focused (1999 - studio album)
"Drum'n'voice" with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez (2002 - studio album)
Culture Mix
Culture Mix Colours
The Art of 3
The Art of 4
The Art of 5
"Drum'n'voice 2" Jan Hammer, Buddy Miles John Patitucci, Dominic Miller, Mike Lindup, Jeff Berlin, Airto Moreira, Frank Gambale, Brian Auger, Guy Barker and Novecento (2006 - studio album)

Albums recorded with other artists:

* Horace Silver - You've Got to Take a Little Love
* Kenny Burrell - God Bless the Child
* Dreams - Dreams
* Dreams - Imagine My Surprise
* Miles Davis - A Tribute to Jack Johnson
* Miles Davis - On the Corner
* Miles Davis - Live-Evil
* Miles Davis - Get Up With It
* Miles Davis - Circle in the Round
* Miles Davis - Directions
* Mahavishnu Orchestra - Inner Mounting Flame
* Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire
* Mahavishnu Orchestra - Between Nothingness and Eternity
* Mahavishnu Orchestra - Mahavishnu
* Santana/McLaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender
* Peter Gabriel - Passion



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Buy BILLY COBHAM Music


SpectrumSpectrum
Atlantic 1992
Audio CD$11.01
$4.25 (used)
Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Box set · Import
WARNER BROS UK 2012
Audio CD$12.46
$33.09 (used)
Inner ConflictsInner Conflicts
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.32
Life & TimesLife & Times
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$10.33
Compass PointCompass Point
Cleopatra 2013
Audio CD$8.99
$15.63 (used)
Drum n Voice, Vol. 3Drum n Voice, Vol. 3
Neo Membran
Audio CD$18.71
$18.71 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
George Benson - White Rabbit CTI vinyl Herbie Hancock Earl Klugh Billy Cobham USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1h 33m
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2h 38m
Wolfgang Schmid : Jubilee concert-Live (1989, feat. Billy Cobham, Gitte Haenning USD $4.74 Buy It Now 3h 25m
Live On Tour In Europe LP Billy Cobham George Duke Band vinyl USD $19.49 Buy It Now 4h 11m
BILLY COBHAM MAGIC RARE ORIGINAL EX YUGOSLAV 1ST PRESS 1978 EX/EX USD $18.00 Buy It Now 4h 47m
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8h 40m
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12h 56m
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15h 23m
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Billy Cobham - Picture This CD 1998 NEW SEALED USD $5.43 Buy It Now 20h 47m
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BILLY COBHAM 'THE BEST OF BILLY COBHAM' GERMAN IMPORT LP USD $13.99 Buy It Now 21h 37m
Total Eclipse BILLY COBHAM FUSION 1000 Remastered Limited CD WM Japan NEW /08 USD $25.60 Buy It Now 22h 42m
Shabazz Live In Europe BILLY COBHAM FUSION 1000 Limited CD WM Japan NEW /08 USD $25.60 Buy It Now 22h 54m
BILLY COBHAM Stratus 7" 4 Pronged Label Design B/w Part 2 UK Atlantic 1973 USD $22.13 Buy It Now 1 day
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BILLY COBHAM Simplicity Of Expression-depth Of Thought LP 6 Track With Insert U USD $8.15 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY COBHAM Billy's Best Hits LP 8 Track Unopened In Original Shrinkwrap With D USD $18.67 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY COBHAM'S GLASS MENAGERIE Smokin' LP 5 Track Small Tear On The Front Cover USD $10.83 Buy It Now 1 day
CD - Billy Cobham - Tales From The Skeleton Coast (2014) - JAZZ-ROCK USD $3.80 [1 bids]
1 day
BILLY COBHAM/RICHARD DAVIS Billy Cobham Meets Richard Davis LP 9 Track GERMAN T USD $13.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Cobham LP Record Warning GRP-A-1020 12" 33 RPM 1985 Jazz Fusion Electric USD $9.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Cobham LP record Magic Columbia JC 34939 Sterling 12" 1977 33 RPM Jazz USD $9.49 Buy It Now 1 day
ROCK N JAZZ A Fusion LP 9 Track Featuring Billy Cobham,jan Hammer,stanley Clarke USD $13.01 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Cobham vinyl LP album record Crosswinds USA SD7300 ATLANTIC Sealed 1974 USD $37.27 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
BILLY COBHAM A FUNKY THIDE OF SINGS ATLANTIC FORMAT VINYL USD $8.00 [0 bids]
1 day
BILLY COBHAM GLASS MENAGERIE-Observations-JAZZ/ROCK-LP USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA CD BIRDS OF FIRE JOHN MCLAUGHLIN JAN HAMMER BILLY COBHAM USD $3.00 [0 bids]
1 day
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA CD INNER MOUNTING FLAME JOHN MCLAUGHLIN BILLY COBHAM USD $3.00 [0 bids]
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THE BEST of BILLY COBHAM by Billy Cobham (CD, Jul-1987, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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2 days
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BILLY COBHAM shows & tickets


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BILLY COBHAM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BILLY COBHAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 368 ratings
Spectrum
1973
3.70 | 48 ratings
Crosswinds
1974
3.70 | 37 ratings
Total Eclipse
1974
3.55 | 20 ratings
A funky Thide of Sings
1975
3.81 | 17 ratings
Life & Times
1976
3.73 | 20 ratings
Magic
1977
2.94 | 7 ratings
Billy Cobham / Steve Khan / Alphonso Johnson / Tom Scott: Alivemutherforya
1978
3.67 | 6 ratings
Simplicity Of Expression, Depth Of Thought
1978
3.31 | 13 ratings
Inner Conflicts
1978
2.00 | 4 ratings
B. C.
1979
3.85 | 7 ratings
Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Stratus
1981
4.25 | 4 ratings
Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Observations & Reflections
1982
2.83 | 6 ratings
Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie: Smokin'
1983
2.93 | 10 ratings
Warning
1985
2.43 | 7 ratings
Powerplay
1986
2.56 | 9 ratings
Picture This
1987
1.80 | 5 ratings
Incoming
1989
2.67 | 6 ratings
By Design
1992
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Traveler
1994
3.14 | 7 ratings
Nordic
1996
3.33 | 6 ratings
Wolfgang Schmid / Bill Bickford / Billy Cobham: Paradox
1996
3.67 | 8 ratings
Focused
1998
3.60 | 5 ratings
Wolfgang Schmid / Bill Bickford / Billy Cobham: Paradox, The First Second
1998
1.50 | 2 ratings
Billy Cobham presents: Ensemble New, Hope Street
1999
2.09 | 4 ratings
Billy Cobham Presents Nordic: Off Color
1999
2.00 | 1 ratings
Billy Cobham Presents North By Northwest
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Drum N Voice - All That Groove
2001
3.33 | 3 ratings
Culture Mix
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Art Of Five
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Colours (with Culturemix)
2005
2.00 | 1 ratings
Art Of Four
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
Drum N Voice 2
2006
2.14 | 3 ratings
Fruit from the Loom
2007
3.68 | 6 ratings
Billy Cobham, Colin Towns, HR Big Band: Meeting Of The Spirits - A Celebration Of The Mahavishnu Orchestra
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
De Cuba y de Panama
2008
2.55 | 9 ratings
Palindrome
2010
2.87 | 4 ratings
Drum n Voice Vol.3
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Tales From The Skeleton Coast
2014

BILLY COBHAM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 22 ratings
Shabazz
1974
3.49 | 21 ratings
The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band: "Live" On Tour In Europe
1976
3.15 | 4 ratings
Billy Cobham Live: Flight Time
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Billy Cobham Live: Mississippi Knights
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Rome
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Art Of Time
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Art Of Three: Live In Japan 2003
2003
3.25 | 4 ratings
Compass Point
2013

BILLY COBHAM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Glass Menagerie
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Culturemix
2005

BILLY COBHAM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 12 ratings
The Best Of Billy Cobham
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
Billy's Best Hits
1987
5.00 | 1 ratings
Magic/ Simplicity of Expression, Depth Of Thought
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Les Incontournables
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Billy Cobham Box ( Limited Edition)
2001
4.50 | 6 ratings
Rudiments: The Billy Cobham Anthology
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Many Years B.C.
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Radioactive (Hope Street/ Powerplay remastered)
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Introducing Billy Cobham
2006

BILLY COBHAM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BILLY COBHAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Total Eclipse by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.70 | 37 ratings

BUY
Total Eclipse
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's quite funny that I only paid attention to this solo album by one of my favourite drummers only recently after decades of its release. As far as my childhood experience I only knew basically two albums Spectrum and A Funky Tide of Sings. Spectrum was special during my childhood as it was the first time I knew a talented young guitarist who latter become Ritchie Blackmore's replacement in Deep Purple sometime in 1975.

It's now quite surprising to me that I enjoy Total Eclipse very much especially the opening track Solarization which I consider it as not only a jazz rock composition but it's crafted with progressive mind as structurally the music comprises some movements: Solarization/Second Phase/Crescent Sun/Voyage/Solarization-Recapitulation with overall duration of 11 minutes plus. If I look at the style changes there are many I can find from the opening track. But it's not only that; this track is beautifully composed from start to end with great jaw-dropping drumwork by Cobham. It's really nice opening.

The following track Lunarputians (2:33) is stil another excellent track maintaining the gestures of brass section, similar with the opening track. Again I can hear how wonderful the drum work which does not only serve as beat keeper at the end of the segment but play vital role as one important thing to listen altogether with brass section. The album title track Total Eclipse (5:59) has a slower tempo music unlike the first two but it still maintain great nuances created from the first two tracks. The only difference is the more exploration of piano but still maintaining great brass section augmented beautifully with drumwork. When I say "great" brass section I mean it's excellently played and it produces really great sound especially if you use a decent stereo set. I do enjoy it very much.

Other tracks that are of interest are Moon Germs (4:54) which reminds me back to the first two tracks of this album - really worth listening; and also Sea Of Tranquility (10:44) - another wonderfully crafted long track started with ambient piano work and it moves excellently in crescendo , blending all brass section and its solo and again ....great drumwork. The concluding track Last Frontier (5:22) demonstrates Cobham's great drum solo.

I can not say this album other than excellent as the music is wonderfully crafted and Cobham's distinctive drumming demonstrated clearly throughout the album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Spectrum by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 368 ratings

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Spectrum
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

3 stars TN;DL

One of the recent (and, probably, still on-going) discussions here on the Forum has been about "shredding vs. virtuosity", or something to this effect. This prompted me to describe how I feel about a few very highly rated albums from the Heroic Age of jazz/rock.

Faithful to the elated spirit of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds and Emerald, the players on the Spectrum relentlessly thrash the bejesus out of their instruments, mostly in the first part of the album. I can't seem to be able to "listen past" all the neurotic shredding to get through to the music itself. Interestingly, I have no difficulty consuming almost unlimited amounts of (post) bop, which can be very intense and may appear all over the place, yet everything, all the loose strands and bouncy bits come together to form great music.

To sum up: Too Noisy; Didn't Listen. Well, I did listen, but couldn't enjoy, although I do recognize the value of the energy and the boldness of Billy Cobham's Spectrum.

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 Warning by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.93 | 10 ratings

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Warning
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars It's a pity that no one has ever reviewed this very decent album by Billy Cobham which I consider worth collecting for couple of reasons. First off, it has a very good composition that you might not realize that it's written by a drummer - an excellent drummer, in fact. I have known Billy Cobham long time ago since 70s when he made 'Spectrum' album where he recruited Tommy Bolin of Deep Purple fame to fill-up he guitar work. The compositions he wrote here in this album has very good melody line typically demonstrated through keyboards and/or piano work. The best melody is basically the second track 'Red and Yellow Cabriolet' which has keyboard as melody maker of the song. Billy has proved himself that he is not just a drummer but also an excellent composer! In addition to that, the music has very good dynamics in almost every single track except the slow one 'Slow Body Poppin' '. Most importantly the whole album moves beautifully from start to end and it forms a cohesive whole. Yes, it has a solid structural integrity so that the music sounds like an album not a collection of songs.

Second, you can enjoy the beauty of Billy's drumming style even though he does not perform any drum solo work like he did with his previous album 'A Funky Thide of Sings'. He does solo work as transition pieces in some tracks which is I consider good enough, musically. He also let Sa Davis to perform his percussion work dynamically has does under some tracks like 'Red and Yellow Cabriolet' I basically enjoy his drumming style from the opening track 'Mozaik' where it has piano work and some short drum solo during the transition pieces. He then demonstrate that the second track 'Red and Yellow Cabriolet' has a solid and memorable melody through the keyboard work. Billy also inserts the new version of Stratus where he omits the guitar work and replaces it with keyboard. I think this new version of Stratus is good as another kind of the original.

Overall, this is a very good album by Billy Cobham and it deserves a 3.5 ratings . For those of you who like jazz-rock fusion music, I bet you'd like it. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 The Best Of Billy Cobham by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1979
3.77 | 12 ratings

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The Best Of Billy Cobham
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars An excellent compilation!

Most people consider Billy Cobham as jazz musician and/or drummer - that's why this compilation has no one to write the review yet, only some ratings (6 people give rating). I also actually consider him under jazz category even though it's much more on jazz-rock fusion as his debut album "Spectrum" was actually fall under jazz-rock category with some progressive elements as well. But for those newbie to Billy Cobham they should have this compilation as it represents good track from him even though he still had many other good tracks from his nine albums until this compilation was released in 1979. Personally I do not follow all albums of his but I was so amazed with his debut and ini some ways I loved "The Funky Thide of Sings" as well.

All tracks featured here are really excellent. Look at the opening track "Quadrant 4" (4:30) which runs in very fast tempo with jaw-dropping drum work. I really love Bill's drum beats as it's inventive in nature and he always inserts fast beats in between segment powerfully, with unique tom and snare sounds and it's really enjoyable to listen. The next track " a) Snoopy's Search/ b) Red Baron" (7:39) is another fine composition with great bass guitar lines and guitar work backed with his inventive drumming. Another composition that demonstrates great brass section work and I always use this track when I open a workshop or seminar is "a) Solo (0:16) b) Panhandler (3:50)" where it has excellent energy, dynamics with stunning guitar work as well as tight basslines. I always energized when I listen to this track because the combined work of guitar, bass section, bass guitar and drums is really great! Try listen to this track and I am pretty damn sure yu would love it very much especially if you love jazz- rock fusion kind of music.

"The Pleasant Pheasant" (5:11) is also a great composition and it's a favorite track for those who love jazz-rock. "Stratus" (9:50) was actually my chief reason I bought the cassette of Billy's debut album because there was guest guitarist, Tommy Bolin, contributed to the track. It's really a great track for most of you who like jazz rock. Enjoy the stunning guitar work of Tommy Bolin in funky-style combined with tight basslines and dynamic drumming. Woooo......!!! I love this track very very much .....

Simply said, this compilation is worth-collecting really.... Especially if you love jazz-rock fusion music. ANd after having this album, buy the individual abum from the debut one. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Spectrum by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 368 ratings

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Spectrum
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Arguably the finest drummer to grace the 1970's rock sphere, fusion exponent Billy Cobham has truly enjoyed a lengthy and highly-successful career. As well as having played with some of the very finest in the business - the likes of Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Herbie Hancock come to mind - Cobham has also managed to produce two of the era's key fusion albums in the shape of this dynamic debut release and the atmospheric 1974 follow-up 'Crosswinds', albums that helped define a movement despite the fact that they both appeared several years after the genre's major trailblazer 'Bitches Brew'(1969) had been issued. Alongside the likes of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever featuring Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, 'Spectrum' belongs to that unique set of 1970's fusion artists who were informed by the late- sixties experiments of Davis, Ted Macero and Tony Williams yet also took the genre one step further, integrating funk, psychedelia, Eastern raga modals and cosmic sound collages into a what would now simply be known as 'fusion'. Of these albums issued, 'Spectrum' seems the most indelible, as well as being one of the most revered, both by older listeners who were there during the 1970's and by a new, contemporary audience of fans, critics and artists who have used the album as an influential cultural reference point. With the British dance trio Massive Attack sampling the gloriously-funky bass-line of 'Stratus' for their seminal track 'Safe From Harm', 'Spectrum' is now an album that has transcended the decade of its creation. It's an album that features an intricate electric sound, filled with blistering guitar strikes, galloping bass bumps and skittering beats when fast; dipped in fuzzy synthesizers and wandering off via neon-flecked keyboard ambles into that wonderful mystical midnight ambience that only jazz can create during the musics calmer moments. Apart from the nine-minute stealth rock of 'Stratus', highlights - which are many - include the twittering sonic swirl of opening track 'Quadrant', and the dreamy, acid-lounge-licked multi-parter 'To The Women In My Life'. Both tracks segue both furiously and calmly - sometimes at the same time - through a rapid-fire journey of thrilling instrumental face-offs, the interchange between Cobham's quicksilver druming and the neon-dropped keyboards, throbbing bass-lines and stammering guitars of his ultra-talented backing players(a set which includes Mahavishnu keyboardist Jan Hammer and guitarist Tommy Bolin amongst others) proves thrilling throughout, showcasing not just Cobham's technical prowess but also his deft compositional abilities, a fact imbued by the make-up of the songwriting credits; Only Cobham's name appears. Considering the overall quality of 'Spectrum', its fair to say then that Cobham truly deserves his place in the pantheon of great modern jazz men. This is a high sophisticated and technically dazzling record, filled with memorable beats, hooks and solos and undoubtedly one of the 1970's very best. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Spectrum by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 368 ratings

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Spectrum
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Mahavishnu Orchestra legend Billy Cobham is one of the drum masters and on his debut album he unleashes a furious tirade of percussion madness along with his amazing congregation of virtuoso musicians. The opening track of "Spectrum", 'Quadrant 4', is an incredible adrenaline charged belter, featuring frenetic lead guitar of Bolin that blazes with wah wah and high string bends that will astonish. There is a strong jazz rock feel present with the percussion but it is the lead guitar soloing and the Moog solos that makes this a masterpiece track.

Next up is a drum solo that is very emotionally riven ranging from outbursts to restrained measured tempos. The track 'Searching For The Right Door/ Spectrum' is certainly a jazz fest of woodwind, bass, drums and guitar virtuosity. The sax soloing is as mind blowing as Banton at his best.

Next is 'Anxiety/ Taurian Matador' that is again broken into 2 sections, the first being a short interlude of drum power, and then an outbreak of jazz lunacy. Bolin's guitar work is excellent again, with trade offs between the Hammer's keyboard phrases.

'Stratus' follows a 9:50 piece, that received accolades over the years and even reached the masses as an edited single. I love Sklar's pulsating bass on this and melodic hooks that lock into a cool groove. This one simmers along beautifully, with some psych space rock sounds, and an overall jamming vibe like the psychedelic 60s.

Next is 'To The Women In My Life/ Le Lis' with piano at first and then reaching deep into a well of Latin tones on trumpets. The funky vibe is cool but this is not my favourite style, though not a bad break from the wild music previous. 'Snoopy's Search/ Red Baron' follows, opening with space invader electronic effects that are outdated but fun in a retro sense. Then a cool as ice jazz groove locks in with some great guitar work.

Overall this is an incredible procession of jazz brilliance focussing on the drums, similar to the infamous "Let There Be Drums". At least one of the tracks here ends up on a compilation, sometimes all three 'Quantum 4', 'Stratus' and 'Snoopy's Baron', and sometimes even more. It certainly is one of the best jazz fusion albums I have heard, on a par with Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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 Spectrum by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 368 ratings

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Spectrum
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having already established himself as one of fusion's greatest drummers through his work with Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham's first solo album even further secured his position as a drumming god. Throughout the course of Spectrum, Billy Cobham and company dish out some of the most impressive playing you'll ever hear on a fusion album - not at all surprising when you take a look at the star-studded lineup including Tommy Bolin on guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards, and Lee Sklar on bass (to name but a few). In addition to being an unbelievable journey of virtuosic musicianship, Spectrum is also one of the most important albums in early seventies' fusion. While there's still a very firm root in jazz music, Cobham lets more rock and funk into his sound than many other fusion players were doing at the time. In short, Spectrum is an innovative, technically astounding, and downright essential example of classic fusion.

Spectrum shows us right from the very beginning that this is an album that's every bit as directed towards the rock audience as it is for the jazz crowd - the blistering opening number "Quadrant 4" makes it clear through its fast-paced drumming and rapid fire guitar and keyboard soloing that this is one of the more unique fusion albums from its time period. The rest of the album rides the border between rock, fusion, and funk, often melding the three into a mix that's distinctly Cobham's own. Most of the album is excellent, but the title track, "Le Lis", and "Red Baron" have always stood out to me as particularly great. Though most folks disagree, I do find Spectrum occasionally drifting into endless displays of technicality rather than anything particularly memorable - though the whole album makes for a fun listen, not all of it is especially noteworthy once its playing time is over. I think this is something that Cobham perfected on future releases, and I actually regard Total Eclipse as a much more consistent release than Spectrum. That's not to discount the music on Spectrum, however - Cobham clearly wrote some great tunes for this album, but I just tend to think that his skills sharpened even more over the next few albums.

Even though Spectrum may not be my favorite release from Billy Cobham, there's still no denying that this is a spectacular classic fusion album. The musicianship is through the roof, the production is sleek and professional, and the majority of the music here is memorable - factor in the historical importance, and it looks like Spectrum is an essential listen for any fan of the genre. I always have a great time when I hear Spectrum, and I'd say 4 stars are well-deserved for this impressive debut.

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 Focused by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.67 | 8 ratings

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Focused
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This one is a late-'90s date. Crystal clear sound but harkens back to the day of "Spectrum" and "Total Eclipse". The guitar is not as wild, however. Still electric but very melodic. Every track is solid jazz/fusion and timeless. It doesn't sound like it was from an "era" in the fusion genre. Electric piano and a little acoustic throughout by Gary Husband (yes...THAT Gary Husband of Allan Holdsworth/Level 42 fame). Randy Brecker is very up front in the trumpet/fluglehorn department on this recording and carries most of the melodies. A very solid album. Recommended for fans of Miles Davis, Allan Holdsworth, Chad Wackerman and the ECM label. I'm very surprised that I'm the first to review this album on the progarchives.com site. A lost gem in '90s fusion and a great return for Billy Cobham in 1998.

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 Spectrum by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.30 | 368 ratings

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Spectrum
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Recorded just under a fortnight before the abotive sessions for the Mahavishnu Orchestra's third studio album (which would eventually see release as The Lost Trident Sessions), Billy Cobham's solo Spectrum is a drumming tour de force which also showcases Tommy Bolin's guitar mastery. Fellow Mahavishnu member Jan Hammer gets to indulge a quirkier side of his keyboard playing, and in general the album has a lighter and more playful mood than, say, The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire. Short, brief, and to the point, the album is a great listen for anyone wanting to explore the classic Mahavishnu lineup's careers beyond the group's first few albums.

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 A funky Thide of Sings by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.55 | 20 ratings

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A funky Thide of Sings
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This album is very memorable for me personally as I was so impressed with how unique this album was at that time. Unique? Yes. What things that make this album unique? Only one thing: because it has a song which has a full-lenght drum solo "A Funky Kind of Thing". Why? By that time I was not aware if there was any song that contains only drumming while Billy Cobham offered something different than the others. You can guess, at that time I only played track no. 7 only from this album because I love solo drumming. Whenever I played the cassette (the only format I have at that time) I always blasted off my amplifier volume to get full enjoyment.

I knew Billy Cobham for the first time sometime in 1975 through his excellent debut album "Spectrum" because of the appearance of Tommy Bolin in that album. Tommy Bolin was suddenly a great name by that time because he was appointed as Ritchie Blackmore's replacement in Deep Purple's line up. In the same year, Deep Purple played a two-day concert in Jakarta. That was the first international rock concert for my country and it was phenomenal. Many of people whom later become my friends were there to see the concert. Unfortunately I could not afford to buy the ticket so I stayed at home. As Bolin was famous, I then bought the Billy Cobham "Spectrum".

I realize now that actually the whole album "A Funky Thide of Sings" is actually an excellent album after I play and enjoy every single track this album offers. In fact, the opening track "Panhandler" represents an excellent jazz-rock fusion music. Keith Jarret's "Sorcery" has been rearranged beautifully so it sounds really good. I like the brass section which involves many players here. "A Funky Thide Of Sings", "Thinking Of You", and also Randy Brecker's "Some Skunk Funk" plus the rest of the tracks are all good in terms of composition and performance. Billy's drumming style reminds me to the kind of combined styles between Steve Gadd and Bill Bruford.

Overall, this is a very good jazz-rock fusion music with a lot of nice brass section segments. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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