[JPL] Before & After: Billy Cobham

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 17 15:46:40 EDT 2008

Rick, Billy simply sounds bitter for whatever reason. Then he goes further in putting down Gretsch drums. I guess Mitch Mitchell, Art Blakey, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tony, Elvin Jones, Art Taylor, Max Roach, Philly Jo Jones and a kzillion others were too musically ignorant to recognize the inferior quality of the Gretsch product. Right. 

I love Billy man for the same reasons you do.  Or did. I saw the MO opening for...YIKES...Black Oak Arkansas. Jesus. Well anyway...Billy was killin. The band was killin. I saw Billy in a clinic a few years ago and left. It wasn't the same Billy I saw playing at that level in the early 70's. Not that it should have been but there was this selfish presentation...ironically reflecting the same things he's dissing in this column. There was also an air of he didn't care for what was happening in "jazz" today. Considering that nothing swung or really grooved in his clinic, I can believe him. I don't think he ever really did care that much for straight up jazz. I always felt Billy's approach to swing suspect...even his CTI work with straight ahead concepts but that wasn't his strong point. 

He's one of the great innovators in power/fusion drumming...no doubt but I've lost a lot of respect for him as a result of what he said in this Before and After column. Sad and unnecessary really. 

Jae Sinnett  

--- On Fri, 10/17/08, rick calic <rick at jazzrockworld.com> wrote:

> From: rick calic <rick at jazzrockworld.com>
> Subject: [JPL] Before & After: Billy Cobham
> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> Date: Friday, October 17, 2008, 12:28 PM
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> Wow,
> 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
> interview. 
> 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:
> http://www.drumminfool.com/billy_cobham_video_clips.htm 
> Rick Calic
> http://www.jazzrockworld.com 
> P.S. I was also surprised at his comments about George
> Duke. Don't get me
> started...
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