DrumsOnTheWeb.com ... Billy Cobham : drums

Contests! ...

DrumsOnTheWeb.com - Your favorite music for drummers and percussionists!

Your chance to win FREE stuff!

Billy Cobham : drums
Billy Cobham
Recording Artist / Clinician / Composer

Only a few times in history has a musician been singled out as the world class master of his instrument. Billy Cobham is one of those few artists. For over 30 years, he has received international acclaim as the total consummate percussionist.

The legendary Billy Cobham, with his matchless, dazzling, ambidextrous skills as a drummer, has applied the same insistent fervor to his long list of monumental achievements. He’s an accomplished composer and record producer.

It is a rarely known fact that he was at the forefront of the electronic music industry and it’s development through Jazz. He was one of the first percussionists, along with Max Roach and Tony Williams to utilize the Electronic Drum Controller made in 1968 by the Meazzi Drum Company in Milano, Italy while on concert tour with Horace Silver in Europe. He is one of the few Percussionists, specializing in the Jazz drum set to lead his own band. The award winning Cobham has custom designed trend setting acoustic and electronic drum sets and has endorsed products that he created and refined.

He has performed on hundreds of records with his own groups and with some of the music’s most luminary artists, and his trademark - biggest, fastest, explosive drumming - has energized the international stages of concerts, symphonies, big bands, Broadway, festivals, television and video. He has been a teacher of his artistry, giving drum clinics, conducting workshops and symposiums throughout the world. His stylistic influence, which has literally created a category of music, is an outstanding part of the history of modern music.

Since 1980 Billy Cobham has been dividing his time between his home in Zurich and the United States where he lived in New York City and northern California until that time, underscoring his unique internationally influenced origins as a musician. Born 5/16/44 in Panama, surrounded by talented parents and a brother, Wayne (producer, horn player, midi specialist, writer), Billy’s love for drums was kindled by his cousins who played and constructed steel drums and congas in Panama. Some of his earliest memories are of himself playing Timbales.

The Cobhams moved to New York City in 1947, when Billy was 3 years old. He had his stage debut in performance with his father at the age of 8. Cobham developed his seriously voracious appetite for drumming in the highly competitive Drum and Bugle Corps. arena with St. Catherine’s Queensmen, prompting him to attend New York’s famed High School of Music and Art to study music theory and drum technique with seminars by such renowned talents as Thelonious Monk and Stan Getz. Cobham remembers "In those days, Jazz was a bit off-limits to students while classical music was preferred by the education establishment. So, of course students craved to meet jazz artists.

Miles Davis was the most talked about personality of the time and had the best musicians working with him. "We’d listen to him and analyze, as we did with other professionals. But in those days, all roads did lead to Miles." He was the goal to shoot for because he had a knack for putting the right components together (musicians and music) to convey the ultimate message through Jazz.

Education : Diploma 1962 - The High School of Music And Arts, New York, NY

Career Highlights

1965 to 1968 - United States Army Band as Percussionist

1968 - Performed with Jazz Pianist Horace Silver in Europe and U.S.A. Performed with Jazz Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and Organist, Shirley Scott, Recorded with Jazz Guitarist George Benson on the album Giblet Gravy for Verve records; Performed in the Broadway play "Promises, Promises".

1969 - Began recording with Miles Davis; performed with Jazz Pianist Junior Mance; Recorded with jazz Pianist Les McCann for Atlantic records. Co-founder of the Fusion Group "Dreams" featuring Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Don Grolnick, Barry Rodgers and Will Lee.

1970 - 1973 Performed with John McLaughlin in Mahavishnu Orchestras with Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and Rick Laird. During this period recorded as support musician on the CTI record label that feature such artists as Freddy Hubbard, George Benson, Milt Jackson, Stanley Turrentine, Esther
Phillips, J.J. Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Eumir Deodato, Jackie and Roy, Johnny Hammond Smith, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Ron Carter and Eric Gale.

1973 - Recorded "Spectrum" for ATLANTIC RECORDS with Tommy Bolin –gtr, Jan Hammer – Kys, Lee Sklar – E.Bs, Ron Carter – Ac. Bs, Jimmy Owens –tpt, Joe Farrell – Flute and Ray Barretto – Congas. Created his wn musical organization, featuring Randy Brecker -tp, Michael Brecker -sx, John Abercrombie -gtr, Alex Blake -bs, Milcho Leviev -kys, Lee Pastora -perc. and Glen Ferris -trb., while performing as musical support on recording projects with other internationally known artists. Recorded "Shabazz" Live at Montreux Jazz Festival.

1974 - Recorded ‘Crosswinds" (Atlantic) and "Total Eclipse" - (Atlantic) with the same band as (1973). Recorded with Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack – "You’ve Got a Friend".

1975 - Performed with band and recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland while on concert tour in Europe during the summer. Recorded ‘Life and Times" with George Duke, Doug Rash and John Scofield Recorded "Inner Contlicts" (Atlantic) with Jimmy Owens - tp, Julian Priester - trb, Ernie Watts -sx, John Scofield - gtr, Sheila Escovedo - perc., and John B. Williams - bs

1976 - Performed on concert tour in the U.S.A and Europe with George Duke and recorded "Cobham/Duke Live" at the Montreux jazz Festival.

1977 - Recorded "A Live Mother For Ya (CBS) with Alphonso Johnson, Tom Scott and Steve Kahn. Became official endorser of TAMA Drums through

1987. Recorded "Magic" (CBS) which featured Pete and Sheila Escovedo. Recorded "Montreux Summit"(CBS) with Dexter Gordon, Benny Golson, Stan Getz, Eric Gale, Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Humphreys, George Duke, and Bob James.

1978 - Performed and recorded with Alvin Batiste - clarinetist/Academian from Baton Rouge Louisiana. Recorded with Mike Manieri - Vibraharpist on "Simplicity of Expression/Depth of Field" (CBS). Recorded "Johnny McLaughlin - electric guitarist" with Jerry Goodman and Jan Hammer.

1979 - Toured and recorded with Tony Williams in Japan at ‘live under the Sky" Jazz Festival. Recorded "B.C." (CBS) with Wayne Henderson and recorded with Louis Bellson "Matterhorn" (PABLO). Performed on concert tour with John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, and Stu Goldberg in Europe. Performed at Montreux Jazz Festival with Oscar Peterson, Count Basie and Nils - Orsted Pedersen.

1980 - Performed in house band of "Saturday Night Live" in New York City; Performed at Radio City Music Hall with the Gratetul Dead. Performed on concert tour with Jack Bruce and Friends.

1981 - Performed on tour with Jack Bruce and Friends featuring: David Sancious - kys, Clem Clemson - gtr, Jack Bruce - bs. Recorded "Live at the Public theater’ with Gil Evans Big Band. Recorded in Cologne, Germany "Flight Time" (INAKUSTIK) with Barry Finnerty - gtr, Don Grolnick - kys and Tim Landers -bs. Performed at the International Percussion Festival in Seattle, Washington with Tito Puente (Puerto Rico), Okuta Percussion (Nigeria), Zakir Hussain and Ala Rakka Kahn (India)

1982 - Performed and recorded with Bobby and the Midnites featuring: Bob Weir - gtr, Bobby Corcoran - gtr, Alphonso Johnson - bs, and Brent Midland - kys. The Album called "Bobby and the Midnites" (ARISTA). Recorded Glass Menagerie "Observations &" (ELEKTRA)

1983 - Performed with Gil Evans and Miles Davis in Japan. Toured Europe with Glass Menagerie featuring Dean Brown, Tim Landers, and Gil Goldstein.

1984 - Co-produced ‘The World Of Rhythm" television special and live concert in Lugano, Switzerland, featuring Cheech and Chong, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Louis Bellson, Gil Evans, Bob Weir and Bobby and the Midnites Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker and "Glass Menagerie".

1985 - Recorded "Warning" (GRP) Photographic exhibit of works at the Vincent Kling Architectural Galleries in Philadelphia. Performed in U.S.A with band.

1986 - Recorded "Power Play" (GRP) and performed in the U.S. in concert extensively.

1987 - Recorded "Picture This" (GRP) with Grover Washington and Ron Carter.

1988 - Recorded with Peter Gabriel "Passion" soundtrack for Martin Scorcece film ‘The Last Temptation of Christ".

1990 Performed in Isreal and Santiago, Chile with Jeff Berlin and T Lavitz. Toured with Joe Chindamo, Carl Orr, Adam Armstrong in Australia. Performed in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne. Conducted clinic workshops there as well.

1991 - Recorded "By Design" (FNAC) featuring Ernie Watts - sx, Brian Bromberg - bs, Joe Chindamo - kys: Performed at Playboy Jazz Festival - Hollywood Bowl and Playboy Jazz Festival in Tokyo, Japan.

1992 - Performed with Larry Coryell, Donald Harrison and Dori Caymii in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, for Creed Taylor productions and Pioneer Laser Disc. Performed with Larry Coryell, Donald Harrison and Dori Caymii in Japan for Creed Taylor productions. Performed and recorded and produced at WOMAD Festival with Peter Gabriel and Okuta Percussion (Nigeria), and Farafina (Bourkino Faso). Traveled to Brazil and worked on a music project that involved the street children of Santos and San Vincentes and music.

1993 - Performed in concert Recorded "Traveler’ (FNAC) featuring Ira Coleman - bs, Gary Husband - synths and drums, Joe Chindamo - kys. This album is the end product of my experiences in Brazil the year before.

1994 - Performed with Peter Gabriel in Europe, and U.S.A. on "US" TOUR, where he met the South African musicians Jeffrey Oryama and Lucky Dube and The Slaves. Performed and recorded with Stanley Clarke, Larry Carleton, Najee On summer concert tour the CD : "Live at the Greek" (EPIC)

1995 - Toured Europe extensively with his band featuring Joe Chindamo-kybd , Gary Husband-kybd, Christian Diener - bs and Peter Wölpl – gtr. from September to December.

1996 - Recorded and toured Norway with "Nordic" featuring Bugge Wesselfoft - piano, Ture Brunburg - ax and Terje Gewelt - bs.

1997 - Performed and recorded live in Nassau, Bahamas with his band featuring Gary Husband, Carl Orr, and Stefan Rademacher at the Compass Point. Performed and recorded with Paradox – "The First Second to be released on the Enja label featuring "Wolfgang Schmid - bs and Bill Bickford - gtr. Recorded "Spaces Revisited" with guitarist Larry Coryell. Toured the U.S.A. and Europe with Larry Richard Bona - bs and Bireli Lagrene – gtr. Recorded Ensemble New – "Hope Street" for Rhymatix Records– his personal recording able and the next Nordic album ("Off Color") as well.

1998- Performed with JAZZ IS DEAD and recorded the c.d. "Blue Light Rain" (ZEBRA) - Performed and recorded in England and Scotland with my band featuring Randy Brecker - tpt, Gary Husband - kys, Stefan Rademacher - bs and Carl Orr – gtr. Performed in Istanbul, Turkey with Paradox. Performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival with George Duke and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Tokyo with George Duke, Najee, Pieces Of A Dream, Angela Bofil, The Crusaders, Rochelle Farrell, and McCoy Tyner.

1999 - Saw some major changes for Billy. Check out Billy's website to read his thoughts for 1999

Billy Cobham has conducted Drum Clinics and Workshops for the Yamaha, Mapex, and Tama, drum companies for the last 20 years in these regions as well as Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drum Sticks and Remo Inc.

Awards Billboard Magazine best Jazz Album "Spectrum’ 1975.

Publications Drums By Design

CPP Media/Warner - Chappell Music.

Video Drums By Design

Warner/IMP, U.K

References - The Penguin Guide to Jazz