To say Billy Cobham is a hero is something of an understatement. Billy Cobham, as probably the best known drummer with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, changed the way drums and percussion were perceived in an ensemble and he did it in a very big way. In the area of Jazz there were other interpreters who took the initial concept of drumming and made it an interpretive instrument. Art Blakey certainly comes to mind. But in the area of Crossover, when Fusion was introduced, and primarily Rock audiences were turned on to what a band was really capable of doing, Cobham showed an entire generation of drummers the possibilities and we never looked at a set of Ludwigs the same way again.
And thankfully for all of us he's still at it. Currently gigging around Europe (he is now based in Switzerland), The Billy Cobham Band, as the Palindrome Tour, are hitting festivals all over the continent this Summer.
This weekend's Downbeat comes via Sveriges Radio P2 with a live concert recorded at the Fasching Jazzclub in Stockholm this past week.
Some names maybe not be all that familiar with American audiences, but who stand out as bright lights on the horizon (i.e.:keep an eye on them). Here's the band:
Billy Cobham - Drums
Michael Mondesir - Bass
Jean-Marie Ecay - Guitar
Junior Gill - Steel Pan
Christoph Cravero - Keyboards and violin
Camelia Ben Naceur - Keyboards
This is a long and excellent set and I've broken it up between two players, roughly at an hour each.
Announcements are in Swedish, but the announcer (Lina Langendorf) is so good I had to keep her in. Five seconds in, you'll know why.
Enjoy and hit a festival this summer. It's all happening and it's happening live.