[JPL] Before & After: Billy Cobham

rick calic rick at jazzrockworld.com
Fri Oct 17 12:28:50 EDT 2008



That's a pretty blatant dis on Tony. Very sad to see. I always felt that
Tony's playing 'up front' like that was his gift because there's probably
not too many [if any] other drummer's out there that could pull off what he
did. 'Marketing a kid'?

I don't see that at all. Of course, I'm a fan and not in the business, but
if they were 'marketing a kid', I'm glad they did!


Regarding tuning and toms - Tony was just incredible. I've got a Great Jazz
Trio album [Live at the Village Vanguard - the first one] where he solos on
Moose the Mooche and near the end of his solo, he plays the melody with his
toms - amazing. 


I don't want to dis Billy because of his influence on me personally. I first
saw him with the MO in 1972 - the same year I graduated from high school.
Can you imagine the effect of seeing Billy after years of watching Mickey
Hart & Billy Kreutzmann, Sandy McKee, Dave Girabaldi, Butch Trucks & Jai
Johnny Johnson, James Preston, and Frosty Bartholomew? It was an epiphany to
say the least. 


On the other hand, Billy's comments in the interview are a window into
Billy's own Achilles heel. I don't think I need to elaborate except to say
that I bought the DVD-Audio 5.1 version of "Spectrum" and there is a short
interview with Billy on it - which echoes his comments in the Jazz Times


Surely, Billy's entitled to his opinion and I think it's fair to say he
speaks his mind, which to me, is worthy of respect. At the same time, I'm
entitled to my opinion of his comments and they are radically different from
my opinion of his playing. Billy changed the world for many people in my
generation. I think the combination of Tony Williams, Ginger Baker, Mitch
Mitchell, and Billy Cobham, had an overall effect on all drummers that came
after. Just my opinion. 


I have a lot of MO videos and still stare in awe when the camera is on
Billy. For fans of Billy, the best collection of Cobham video clips can be
found here:




Rick Calic



P.S. I was also surprised at his comments about George Duke. Don't get me


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