BILLY COBHAM

Fusion / Post Bop / World Fusion / Big Band / Afro-Cuban Jazz • United States
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Billy Cobham, born May 16, 1944 in Panama, is one of the world's most influential drummers, best known for his jazz fusion in the 1970s, with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, where he pioneered a powerful style of drumming with jazz, rock and funk influences.

He is the first drummer to unseat Buddy Rich in the Down Beat music polls.

Cobham has played and recorded with hundreds of top musicians, including Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Larry Coryell, and Horace Silver; and is famous for his explosive, fast, spectacular playing.

He has been sampled, most famously by Massive Attack in their tune "Safe from Harm", centered on the beat and bassline of Cobham's "Stratus", from his debut album Spectrum, as well as on Souls of Mischief's "93 Til Infinity" from the song "Heather" on his album "Crosswinds."

Fans of Cobham's should check out the "Spectrum" lp featuring Tommy Bolin (of Deep Purple,
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Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Box set
Warner Bros Uk 2012
$10.69
$8.72 (used)
SpectrumSpectrum
WARNER BROTHERS IMPORT 2014
$3.46
$7.67 (used)
Live at Hofstra University New YorkLive at Hofstra University New York
Gonzo 2016
$21.93
$21.67 (used)
Life & TimesLife & Times
Wounded Bird Records 2000
$72.57
$24.29 (used)
CrosswindsCrosswinds
WARNER BROTHERS IMPORT 2014
$3.58
$8.23 (used)
SpectrumSpectrum
Imports 2014
$13.76
$9.95 (used)
The Atlantic Box Set 1973-1978 (8CD)The Atlantic Box Set 1973-1978 (8CD)
Box set
Atlantic Catalog Group 2015
$40.13
$57.89 (used)
SpectrumSpectrum
Music on Vinyl 2018
$22.47
$12.99 (used)
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BILLY COBHAM Discography

BILLY COBHAM albums / top albums

BILLY COBHAM Spectrum album cover 4.30 | 39 ratings
Spectrum
Fusion 1973
BILLY COBHAM Crosswinds album cover 3.44 | 10 ratings
Crosswinds
Fusion 1974
BILLY COBHAM Total Eclipse album cover 3.16 | 11 ratings
Total Eclipse
Fusion 1974
BILLY COBHAM A Funky Thide of Sings album cover 3.22 | 7 ratings
A Funky Thide of Sings
Fusion 1975
BILLY COBHAM Life & Times album cover 3.94 | 6 ratings
Life & Times
Fusion 1976
BILLY COBHAM Magic album cover 2.88 | 4 ratings
Magic
Fusion 1977
BILLY COBHAM Alivemutherforya (with Steve Khan / Alphonso Johnson / Tom Scott) album cover 4.75 | 2 ratings
Alivemutherforya (with Steve Khan / Alphonso Johnson / Tom Scott)
Fusion 1978
BILLY COBHAM Inner Conflicts album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Inner Conflicts
Fusion 1978
BILLY COBHAM Simplicity Of Expression - Depth Of Thought album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Simplicity Of Expression - Depth Of Thought
Fusion 1978
BILLY COBHAM B.C. album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
B.C.
Fusion 1979
BILLY COBHAM Stratus album cover 3.12 | 4 ratings
Stratus
Fusion 1981
BILLY COBHAM Observations & album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Observations &
Fusion 1982
BILLY COBHAM Smokin' album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Smokin'
Fusion 1983
BILLY COBHAM Warning album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Warning
Fusion 1985
BILLY COBHAM Powerplay album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Powerplay
Fusion 1986
BILLY COBHAM Picture This album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Picture This
Fusion 1987
BILLY COBHAM Incoming album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Incoming
Fusion 1989
BILLY COBHAM By Design album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
By Design
Fusion 1992
BILLY COBHAM The Traveler album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Traveler
Fusion 1994
BILLY COBHAM Nordic album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Nordic
Fusion 1996
BILLY COBHAM Paradox album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Paradox
Fusion 1996
BILLY COBHAM Focused album cover 3.09 | 2 ratings
Focused
Fusion 1998
BILLY COBHAM Off Color (with Nordic) album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Off Color (with Nordic)
Fusion 1999
BILLY COBHAM Billy Cobham Presents North By Northwest album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Billy Cobham Presents North By Northwest
Fusion 2000
BILLY COBHAM Drum'n'voice: All That Groove album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Drum'n'voice: All That Groove
Fusion 2001
BILLY COBHAM Culture Mix album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Culture Mix
Fusion 2002
BILLY COBHAM Art of Five album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Art of Five
Post Bop 2003
BILLY COBHAM Colours (with Culturemix) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Colours (with Culturemix)
World Fusion 2004
BILLY COBHAM Art of Four album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Art of Four
Post Bop 2006
BILLY COBHAM Drum & Voice 2 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Drum & Voice 2
Fusion 2006
BILLY COBHAM Meeting of the Spirits: A Celebration of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (with Colin Towns / HR-Bigband) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Meeting of the Spirits: A Celebration of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (with Colin Towns / HR-Bigband)
Fusion 2007
BILLY COBHAM De Cuba Y De Panama (with Asere) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
De Cuba Y De Panama (with Asere)
Afro-Cuban Jazz 2008
BILLY COBHAM Drum n Voice vol. 3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drum n Voice vol. 3
Fusion 2010
BILLY COBHAM Fruit From The Loom album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Fruit From The Loom
Fusion 2010
BILLY COBHAM Palindrome album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Palindrome
Fusion 2010
BILLY COBHAM Tales from the Skeleton Coast album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Tales from the Skeleton Coast
World Fusion 2014
BILLY COBHAM Billy Cobham & Frankfurt Radio Big Band : Broad Horizon album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Billy Cobham & Frankfurt Radio Big Band : Broad Horizon
Big Band 2016
BILLY COBHAM Drum N Voice Vol 4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drum N Voice Vol 4
Fusion 2016

BILLY COBHAM EPs & splits

BILLY COBHAM live albums

BILLY COBHAM Shabazz album cover 4.63 | 16 ratings
Shabazz
Fusion 1975
BILLY COBHAM Live on Tour in Europe album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
Live on Tour in Europe
Fusion 1976
BILLY COBHAM Flight Time album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Flight Time
Fusion 1986
BILLY COBHAM Live In Rome album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Rome
Fusion 2000
BILLY COBHAM The Art of Three album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Art of Three
Post Bop 2001
BILLY COBHAM Mississippi Knights: Live album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Mississippi Knights: Live
Fusion 2003
BILLY COBHAM The Art Of Three: Live in Japan 2003 album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
The Art Of Three: Live in Japan 2003
Post Bop 2003
BILLY COBHAM Live In Leverkusen album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Leverkusen
Fusion 2011
BILLY COBHAM Compass Point album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Compass Point
Fusion 2013
BILLY COBHAM Mirror's Image album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Mirror's Image
Fusion 2015
BILLY COBHAM Reflected Journey album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Reflected Journey
Fusion 2015
BILLY COBHAM Spectrum 40 Live album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Spectrum 40 Live
Fusion 2015
BILLY COBHAM Ayajala Live album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Ayajala Live
Fusion 2016
BILLY COBHAM Legendary Gigs Vol.1: Live From Dallas Electric Ballroom album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Legendary Gigs Vol.1: Live From Dallas Electric Ballroom
Fusion 2019

BILLY COBHAM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BILLY COBHAM re-issues & compilations

BILLY COBHAM The Best Of album cover 4.08 | 4 ratings
The Best Of
Fusion 1979
BILLY COBHAM Billy Cobham Meets Richard Davis album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Billy Cobham Meets Richard Davis
Fusion 1980
BILLY COBHAM Billy's Best Hits album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Billy's Best Hits
Fusion 1988
BILLY COBHAM Magic / Simplicity of Expression: Depth of Thought album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Magic / Simplicity of Expression: Depth of Thought
Fusion 1999
BILLY COBHAM The Billy Cobham Anthology album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Billy Cobham Anthology
Fusion 2001
BILLY COBHAM Radioactive album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Radioactive
Fusion 2005
BILLY COBHAM Drum 'N' Voice Vol. 1 + 2 All That Groove album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drum 'N' Voice Vol. 1 + 2 All That Groove
Fusion 2006
BILLY COBHAM The Atlantic Years 1973-1978 album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Atlantic Years 1973-1978
Fusion 2015
BILLY COBHAM Drum 'N' Voice,Vol.1-4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Drum 'N' Voice,Vol.1-4
Fusion 2017

BILLY COBHAM singles (0)

BILLY COBHAM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Legends: Billy Cobham - Live Palais Des Festivals Hall Cannes 1989
Fusion 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Latin Soul
World Fusion 2007

BILLY COBHAM Reviews

BILLY COBHAM Spectrum

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
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.

BILLY COBHAM Spectrum

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
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.

BILLY COBHAM Spectrum

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dreadpirateroberts
Cobham delivers quite an attack on his first solo album, developing a style of fusion that it is somehow both aggressive and smooth – the funk is mostly fast and the rock is mostly flowing, creating something both unlike the ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’ and deeply indebted to it at the same time.

‘Spectrum’ is fairly relentless, firing away right off the mark, where Cobham’s charging drums compete with solos from Hammer and Bolin in ‘Quadrant 4.’ It sets the tone for much of the album, though hardly all of it. Billy has certainly gathered a great lineup, and they manage to get a lot out of the ‘full steam’ ahead approach to some of the music, but probably more enjoyable to me are the funkier, somewhat slower pieces. These establish more of a groove, like ‘Taurian Matador’ or the fantastic ‘Stratus’ which is led by the beat and wonderfully effective bass line from Lee Sklar. The piece has a more relaxed feel, as if no-one is trying to impress anyone, listener or each other, but is instead having a great time. Everyone feeds off the vibe, whether it’s the keys or the wonderful lead work from Bolin.

Certainly every piece isn’t a wondrous composition but there are enough great moments on the record to make for pretty exciting stuff. While not a highlight, ‘Red Baron’ is certainly fun and elsewhere flute and saxes add welcome texture to the record, as ‘Spectrum’ sometimes suffers (to my ears) from an unpleasant synth sound. This isn’t an awful thing by any stretch, but I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.

But overall? Four stars easy.

BILLY COBHAM Spectrum

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
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.

BILLY COBHAM Shabazz

Live album · 1975 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
One of the finest jazz fusion records ever produced, "Shabazz" utilizes similar psychedelic effects and avant-garde tendencies similar to other classics, such as "Agharta" or "Crossings", but "Shabazz" goes for the high octane energy, rather than the subterranean grooves of the other two. Billy Cobham plays at break-neck speed for most of this album and the rest of the band has no problem keeping up and adding to the fiercely kinetic jams that always threaten to explode into chaos. One of the interesting things about fusion during this era was the influence it had absorbed from psychedelic rock. This album is full of wah- wah pedals and tape delays as well as analog synthesizers being used to their extreme. Randy Brecker in particular uses the wah- echo effects on his trumpet to create fresh textures and add a lot of variety to his solos. Keyboardist Milcho Leviev moves beyond the typical jazz fusion synth soloist and utilizes the synthesizer's ability to shape pure sound in building his solos.

The music on this album sometimes has its roots in funk-jazz, but as the different solos build, the band veers close to free jazz. These players have so much confidence in each other that they can easily move from chaotic sections to being back in the groove with only a quick drum signal from Cobham to reel them in. Milcho Leviev in particular shows a lot of influence from avant-jazz artists such as Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor.

If you like 70s jazz-rock I would highly recommend this album for its combustible energy and sheer sense of joy. Albums where the musicians are this much in tune with each other are rare.

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