Widely regarded as the “world’s greatest drummer” and revered for his musical ingenuity, jazz fusion virtuoso Billy Cobham has contributed seminally as a master drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, educator, clinician and tireless musical explorer. With the same energy and exuberance he displayed in his youth, he forges ahead with an ever passionate commitment to innovation and service to the world through his music.
In 1969, Billy Cobham co-founded the jazz-rock combo “Dreams” which included, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Don Grolnick, Barry Rodgers, and Will Lee. The following year, he joined Miles Davis’ new fusion ensemble, and contributed to Live-Evil, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and the Bitches Brew sessions, where he collaborated with guitarist John McLaughlin. In 1971, Cobham became a founding member of the jazz-fusion Mahavishnu Orchestra, along with McLaughlin, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, and Rick Laird. This original group released three critically acclaimed albums: The Inner Mounting (1971), Birds of Fire (1973) and Between Nothingness and Eternity (live album released in 1973).
In 1974, the original lineup of the Mahavishnu Orchestra disbanded. Cobham continued to create innovative fusion material with the release of Crosswinds (1974). Cobham has performed the music from the Crossroads album many times throught his career. The video below shows a performance in 1981 at Riazzino, Switzerland. The line up at this time included Billy Cobham (drums), Michal Urbaniak (violin), Gil Goldstein (keyboards), Tim Landers (bass) and a young Mike Stern on guitar.
In 2016 Cobham formed a brand new Live Band to perform a show around the music on the historical Crosswinds Album. The Crosswinds Project will be focusing on the album (WEA 1974) reflecting on the originals through updated arrangements by Billy Cobham.
The original Crosswinds Album was recorded at Electric Lady Land Studios in New York City in 1974. That band consisted of Garnett Brown-trombone, Michael Brecker-woodwinds, Randy Brecker-trumpet, John Abercrombie-guitar, George Duke-keyboards, and Billy Cobham. Cobham co-produced that recording with Ken Scott. The material on the original CD includes “Pleasant Pheasant”, “Spanish Moss” (a suite in 4 parts), “Heather” and “Crosswinds”.
The line-up for the Milan dates is:
Billy Cobham – drums
Ernie Watts – sax
Fareed Haque – guitar
Tim Landers – bass
Scott Tibbs – keys
For more information visit the Blue Note Milan website.
Photo courtesy of TAMA Drums.