Billy Cobham is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer, percussionist, bandleader, and composer. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time, and his playing helped to define the sound of jazz fusion in the 1970s.
Check out this solo in which he uses his famous yellow kit with a double bass drum 🤘😎🤘.
Cobham was born in Panama City, Panama, in 1944. He began playing drums at a young age, and by the time he was in his teens, he was playing professionally in Panamanian dance bands. In 1964, he moved to the United States to study music at the Manhattan School of Music.
After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Cobham began playing in New York City jazz clubs. He soon became one of the most in-demand drummers in the city, and he played with a variety of jazz musicians, including Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, and Stanley Turrentine.
In 1971, Cobham joined the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a groundbreaking jazz fusion band led by guitarist John McLaughlin. With the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham helped to develop a new style of drumming that combined elements of jazz, rock, and funk. His playing on albums such as The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire is considered to be some of the most innovative and influential drumming of all time.
I suggest following the Mahavishnu Orchestra on Spotify.
After leaving the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973, Cobham pursued a solo career. He released a number of albums as a bandleader, including Spectrum, Crosswinds, and Stratus. He also continued to work as a session musician, and he appeared on albums by a variety of artists, including George Benson, Miles Davis, and Jeff Beck.
Cobham has continued to be active as a musician and educator. He has released several more albums as a bandleader, and he has toured extensively around the world. He is also a professor at the Berklee College of Music.
And of course, he is on Spotify as well!
Billy Cobham is a true legend of jazz drumming. His playing has influenced countless drummers, and his music continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.
Here are some of the other things that Billy Cobham is known for:
- He was a pioneer of the double bass drum setup, which is now standard for many drummers.
- He was one of the first drummers to use electronic drums in a jazz context.
- He was a master of polyrhythms and complex time signatures.
- He was a highly expressive and melodic drummer.
- He was a highly influential teacher and mentor to many younger drummers.
Billy Cobham is a true icon of jazz drumming. His playing has had a profound impact on the music world, and he continues to be an inspiration to drummers of all ages.