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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


Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Box set · Import
WARNER BROS UK 2012
Audio CD$12.95
$15.85 (used)
SpectrumSpectrum
Atlantic 1992
Audio CD$7.60
$4.69 (used)
Art of ThreeArt of Three
Import
Blow It Hard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.46
$13.77 (used)
Total EclipseTotal Eclipse
Import
Rhino/Wea UK 2008
Audio CD$4.44
$3.59 (used)
Tales From the Skeleton CoastTales From the Skeleton Coast
Creative Multimedia Concepts 2014
Audio CD$6.16
$13.51 (used)
Fruit From the LoomFruit From the Loom
Zyx Music 2010
Audio CD$8.88
$20.43 (used)
Compass PointCompass Point
Cleopatra 2013
Audio CD$8.99
$14.01 (used)
CrosswindsCrosswinds
Import · Remastered
Rhino/Wea UK 2001
Audio CD$4.44
$14.07 (used)
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24BIT REMASTER BILLY COBHAM Shabazz recorded Live In Europe JAPAN CD US $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 30m
24BIT REMASTER BILLY COBHAM Total Eclipse JAPAN CD US $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 30m
Billy Cobham(Vinyl LP)Magic-CBS-CBS 82277-UK-Ex/NM US $24.30 Buy It Now 5h 55m
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Billy Cobham "Total Eclipse" LP US $4.95 Buy It Now 9h 27m
THE BILLY COBHAM - GEORGE DUKE BAND ** Live On Tour In Europe ** LP US $8.11 [0 bids]
9h 41m
Billy Cobham "Total Eclipse" LP US $4.95 Buy It Now 11h 31m
Billy's Best Hits by Billy Cobham (CD, GRP (USA)) US $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 34m
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Billy Cobham; Michal Urbani...-Glass Menagerie Live In Riazzi DVD NEW US $17.75 Buy It Now 13h 50m
BILLY COBHAM, PICTURE THIS, GR-1040, LP; NEAR MINT, ORIG.INNER SLEEVE US $3.99 [0 bids]
14h 8m
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BILLY COBHAM : A FUNKY THIDE OF SINGS (18149) - RARITIES US $4.49 Buy It Now 15h
BILLY COBHAM / GEORGE DUKE BAND : LIVE ON TOUR IN EUROPE (18194) - RARITIES US $4.49 Buy It Now 15h
Billy Cobham Magic vinyl LP 1977 Columbia Records EX US $9.95 Buy It Now 15h 30m
Billy Cobham Life & Times Original Rare 1976 Atlantic Jazz Fusion Lp US $4.99 [0 bids]
15h 32m
MOSE ALLISON WESTERN MAN BILLY COBHAM 1971 SD 1584 AT/GP PIROS PRESS NM VINYL LP US $14.99 [0 bids]
15h 33m
BILLY COBHAM- A FUNKY THIDE OF SINGS US $2.99 [0 bids]
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17h 11m
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BILLY COBHAM PICTURE THIS GRP DIGI MASTER WHT. LABEL PROMO LP / RECORD US $14.99 [0 bids]
18h 4m
BILLY COBHAM ~ THE BEST OF SD 19238 ATLANTIC PIROS PRESSING 1979 NM+ NICE! LP US $19.99 [0 bids]
18h 4m
Billy Cobham - Life & Times - LP US $3.50 [0 bids]
18h 8m
BILLY COBHAM Lot of 2 LPs from DJ Collection of 1980s R&B Pop Near Mint US $9.95 Buy It Now 19h 41m
Billy Cobham - Crosswinds US $6.00 [0 bids]
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19h 58m
Billy Cobham Warning Record Album US $10.00 Buy It Now 20h 9m
Billy Cobham Steve Kahn Alphonso Johnson Tom Scott ALIVEMOTHERFORYA LP 1978 WLP US $6.99 [0 bids]
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"R&B Soul" 'Billy Cobham" "Life and Times" "Rare LP" US $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY COBHAM SHABAZZ SHABAZZ SD 18139 VINYL LP 1975 FUSION ORIG PRESS VG/VG!! US $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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1st press MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA LIVE LP JOHN MCLAUGHLIN BILLY COBHAM columbia VG+ US $2.99 [0 bids]
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ALIVEMUTHAFORYA TOM SCOTT BILLY COBHAM US $5.00 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM SPECTRUM LP RECORD TOMMY BOLIN JAN HAMMER RON CARTER JAZZ FUSION+EX US $3.57 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM-CROSSWINDS-ATLANTIC RECORDS # SD-7300 US $5.95 [0 bids]
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Billy Cobham ?- Life & Times - Atlantic ?- SD 18166 vinyl LP Mint- condition US $6.00 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM GLASS MENAGERIE - SMOKIN 1983 ELEKTRA VG++ LP US $3.50 [0 bids]
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Billy Cobham Total Eclipse SD-18121 LP US $7.99 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM Billy's Best Hits Cassette - Brand New/Sealed!!! US $3.95 [0 bids]
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Picture This by Billy Cobham (CD, May-1992, GRP (USA)) US $0.98 [0 bids]
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Billy Cobham : Spectrum CD (2005) US $10.02 Buy It Now 1 day
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BILLY COBHAM -SHABAZZ [RECORDED LIVE IN EUR CD US $13.37 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Cobham : Total Eclipse CD (2005) US $8.48 Buy It Now 1 day
Deodato "Prelude" 1997 Sony CD / Ron Carter/ Stanley Clark/ Billy Cobham US $7.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Billy Cobham LP Magic CBS82277 US $2.43 [0 bids]
2 days
Billy Cobham LP Crosswinds K50037 US $2.43 [1 bids]
2 days
Billy Cobham LP Total Eclipse K50098 US $2.43 [0 bids]
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Billy Cobham Page From An Autograph Book UK memorabilia Autographed AUTOGRAPH US $55.85 Buy It Now 2 days
Best Of Billy Cobham Atlantic LP 1979 DJTS US $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Spectrum Billy Cobham UK CD album (CDLP) 8122731742 ATLANTIC MASTERS Sealed US $25.11 Buy It Now 2 days
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VG/EX 1973 US KUDU 2 LP BOX SET GROVER WASHINGTON JR. SOUL BOX BILLY COBHAM ETC US $3.23 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM Bolinas b/w Indigo STOCK 45 M- US $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Billy Cobham "Total Eclipse" US $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Billy Cobham Crosswinds SD7300 Souls Of Mischief 93 Til Infinity Original Sample US $24.97 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM Elektra Musician 60233-1 LP Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie Smokin' US $4.00 [0 bids]
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Billy COBHAM - Crosswinds - Rare HTF Japan-CD/with OBI !/JAZZ-FUSION/1974 US $7.99 [0 bids]
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A Funky Thide of Sings by Billy Cobham *New CD* US $7.39 Buy It Now 2 days
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BILLY COBHAM Glass Menagerie Smokin JAZZ DRUM Lp US $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM Power Play 12" LP GRP-1027 (1986) VINYL ALBUM VG+ US $3.97 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM Picture This 12" LP GRP GR-1040 VG+ US $4.47 Buy It Now 2 days
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Billy Cobham INNER CONFLICTS Atlantic SD19174 Promo Near Mint- US $9.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Billy Cobham - Spectrum (1993) CD QUALITY CHECKED & FAST US $10.03 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM Total Eclipse LP 1974 US $3.99 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM Magic LP 1977 Columbia US $3.99 [0 bids]
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BILLY COBHAM Life & Times Atlantic LP 1976 US $3.99 [0 bids]
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Billy Cobham Live In Europe Shabazz 1975 Atlantic vinyl US $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Best of Billy Cobham 1979 Atlantic vinyl US $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Billy Cobham: Moon Germs / Bandits [Unplayed Copy] US $8.97 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM TOTAL ECLIPSE JAPAN OBI STUNNING NEAR MINT USA SELLER US $29.99 [1 bids]
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McCOY TYNER - FLY WITH THE WIND Jazz Latin Fusion Billy Cobham Funk NearMint+ US $6.77 [0 bids]
2 days
25 CENT CD Warning by Billy Cobham (CD, Aug-2012, VarŠse Sarabande (USA)) US $3.09 [2 bids]
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Billy Cobham "Le Lis/Crosswind" Atlantic 45 US $2.00 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY COBHAM w/ GROVER WASHINGTON jr. GOLD DISC PROMO DJ CD Single Same Ole Love US $34.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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More places to buy BILLY COBHAM music online Buy BILLY COBHAM & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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BILLY COBHAM shows & tickets


  • Billy Cobham at BIX, Stuttgart on 4 Oct 2014
  • Billy Cobham at Patronaat, Haarlem on 7 Oct 2014
  • Billy Cobham at Jazzclub, Hannover on 11 Oct 2014

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)

4.32 | 356 ratings
Spectrum
1973
3.70 | 45 ratings
Crosswinds
1974
3.65 | 34 ratings
Total Eclipse
1974
3.56 | 19 ratings
A funky Thide of Sings
1975
3.80 | 16 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
3.33 | 12 ratings
Inner Conflicts
1978
2.00 | 4 ratings
B. C.
1979
3.88 | 6 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
3.71 | 5 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

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

3.95 | 20 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
 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
4.32 | 356 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
4.32 | 356 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
4.32 | 356 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
4.32 | 356 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
3.56 | 19 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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 The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band: Live, 1976
3.49 | 21 ratings

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The Billy Cobham - George Duke Band: "Live" On Tour In Europe
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars For some reasons, I have been playing a lot of music from the cassette media - the format that I used to collect music in the seventies - ranging from straight rock music like Gary Moore, Saracen, and The Concerts for The People of Kampuchea (Paul Mc Cartney's idea), jazz-rock, progrock and finally I got this album by Billy Cobham - George Duke Band. I was amazed with the fact that I purchased this cassette tape in 1977 but the sound quality is still top notch by the time I played it last night. Secondly, I was amazed with the music which actually is not bad at all and in fact I did enjoy it very much. Billy Cobham drumming style has been consistent since I knew him the first time with "Spectrum" album because Tomy Bolin of Deep Purple fame played in the album, especially the wonderfully crafted "Stratus".

Of course I had listened to the cassette in the 1977 but it was not in my top list because I'd rather play the tapes of Yes or Genesis at that time. And I thought last night that it's gonna be more fusion type of thing. But I was stunned, in fact, by the guitar playing of John Scofield. Wow man ....!!! It's really a great musical adventure featuring Cobham unique style and powerful keyboard work by Duke - accentuated beautifully by Scofield guitar work. There is dynamic bass guitar work as well as solo that sounds like a walking bass by Alphonso Johnson. In fact, I thought it was Stanley Clarke who played the bass. The opening track "Hip pockets" demonstrates how fusion kind of music is composed nicely by these two gentlemen. The other track "Almustafa The Beloved" is quite interesting to enjoy. Of course I like "Do What Cha Wanna" because it has bluesy style performed in vintage style as well. "Frankenstein Goes To The Disco" demonstrates the excellent drum solo work by Cobham.

Overall, this is a very good jazz-rock music with intense progressive music content as well. Recommended.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 The Art Of Three: Live In Japan 2003 by COBHAM, BILLY album cover Live, 2003
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Art Of Three: Live In Japan 2003
Billy Cobham Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars I really like Billy Cobham's early fusion albums and stayed attracted by his signature drumming for decades. Unhappily, during last some years his releases are too often disappointing: his low-profile European projects all are far below his standard,his world fusion recordings are placed too far from real jazz music. I saw him playing live two years ago with one of his European project (Billy Cobham Band) and was really surprised in how good form he is,but for home listening only few his early works are usually in use...

In situation mentioned above the really pleasant exception is Billy Cobham's all-stars super-trio The Art Of Three. Founded initially as live-only team for touring playing jazz standards, their first (live as well) release from US/European tour was real surprise in Cobham's recent discography.

Just a few years later same great trio (with Kenny Barron on piano and Ron Carter on bass besides of Cobham) reunited for few Japanese nights (played in Hyatt Regency Osaka,shows were recorded again and released on two excellent Japanese albums.This one is the first of two.

Album contains trio playing mostly their classic repertoire of jazz standards in fully acoustic mode. It's a rare possibility to hear Cobham playing all-acoustic hard bop! And believe me - I was so much surprised how great he is in this!Not thunder-like as we know him (from his semi-electronic drum kit), but deeply acoustic,emotional, with plenty of rhythm and sound nuances!For sure, being formally a Billy Cobham's recordings,these music is in fact equal balanced product of all three excellent musicians (again,there is quite rare case when Cobham isn't openly dominant on his recording). Everyone of three musicians has enough place for his soloing,but all album is excellent example of really collaborative work.

Album opens with Thelonious Monk's 'I Mean You' and contains both Carter's 'New Waltz' and Barron's 'And Then Again'.Trio's take on classic "Stella by Starlight" or "Round Midnight" is gentle,even romantic, and I am asking myself again and again - is this drummer same as legendary "thunder machine" Cobham? But yes, he is same Cobham for sure and once again I enjoy how great he could be playing hard bop!

Album's sound is warm and soft,as usually with Japanese acoustic live recordings (yes,I like this sound - you feel like the music is played in the same room you're sitting when listening), with possibly just a bit too deep bass sound in a moments. One of the best Cobham recording for years,give it a try and you will refresh you old love to one of the greatest drummer of early 70s.

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Thanks to Ghost Rider for the artist addition.

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