Billy Cobham

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Drumming legend and fusion pioneer Billy Cobham will bring his highly acclaimed Art of the Rhythm Section Retreat back to the Mesa Arts Center for its third year, offering a one-of-a-kind immersive educational program for guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists, and for the first time, woodwind players.

Any jazz aficionado who acknowledges the significance of the fusion movement beginning in the late 1960s would cite bands like Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and George Duke as prominent architects of the sub-genre. What do all of these legendary groups have in common? Drummer Billy Cobham. He’s unquestionably the finest living drummer from that period, one who took risks playing in groups outside of the “certifiable” jazz community.

Some years back, Grateful Web’s Dylan Muhlberg spoke with celebrated Jazz Fusion drummer Billy Cobham in the midst of a long-running 40th-anniversary celebratory tour of his groundbreaking debut album Spectrum (1973). Put simply, Cobham alongside contemporaries such as the late Tony Williams, changed drumming in jazz from then on.

Jazz fusion legend Billy Cobham announces a multi-city US Tour dedicated to revisiting his second album, Crosswinds, which was originally released in 1974. For this new performance se- ries, known as the “Crosswinds Project,” Cobham and the band will perform updated arrangements of his compositions from this album, supported by Paul Hanson (bassoon, sax); Fareed Haque (guitar); Tim Landers (bass); and Scott Tibbs (keys).

Billy Bragg stopped through Chicago as a one off concert en route home from his performance at Kansas City Folk Festival 2017. A perfect setting, Old Town School of Folk provided an intimate stage for this sold out show. Solo with only his guitars and a mic, Bragg delivers so much punch. Again proving lyrics and social commentary is not only powerful but essential, particularly in these times. 

An immersive five-day learning experience for professional and semi-pro bassists, drummers, guitarists and keyboard players across all genres and styles.

While classic rock giants such as the Rolling Stones, The Who, and even the Dead are booking gargantuan sport stadiums, legends of jazz have a distinctly different approach. Popularity aside, jazz naturally thrives in intimate venues. The music wouldn’t sustain it’s full power in much larger than a cozy theatre. The comparison is only novelty since jazz necessitates more attention of its audience. In the late 1960s certain jazz musicians were growing tired of clichés about jazz becoming less mainstream with rock ‘n’ roll music then dominating the pop charts.

Billy Cobham is one of the key pioneering musicians of the jazz-fusion style, his music abolishes any supposed limitations of genre. As a member of Miles Davis he contributed to the groundbreaking fusion album Bitches Brew.

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