; Conversation with Billy Cobham: The Musician as a Student
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Conversation with Billy Cobham: The Musician as a Student

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[...] when JAZZed caught up with Cobham, he was in the middle of rehearsing for his latest project: While Cobham does run clinics, workshops, and master classes all over the world, his ability to push his own comfortable limits, learn new things, and constantly hone his art is admirable. [...] any kind of music, but this kind of music, especially

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28 JAZZed January 2010
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                JAZZed January 2010 29
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       hroughout his storied career, Billy Cobham has con-                                Despite his busy schedule and in-
                                                                                      tense work ethic, Cobham is a laid
       stantly been one of the most innovative and influential                         back, patient, and very thoughtful per-
       drummers in the world of jazz. Scratch that – Billy Cob-                       son. Oftentimes, our focus at JAZZed
                                                                                      is, understandably, on the “musician
ham is one of the most innovative and influential drummers in                          as a teacher.” Cobham turned that
                                                                                      angle on its head as his focus, in his
the world, period.                                                                    own musical quest, is on the musician
   In 1968, while on tour with Horace Silver, Cobham played one of the first ever      as a student. While Cobham does run
Electronic Drum Controllers produced by the Meazzi Drum Company. He was also          clinics, workshops, and master classes
one of the first drummers to play ‘open handed’ (leading with his left hand) – a       all over the world, his ability to push
technique which has influenced drummers from Steve Smith to Carter Beauford.           his own comfortable limits, learn new
Perhaps most importantly, Billy is one of the preeminent drummers to successfully     things, and constantly hone his art is
lead his own groups, composing, arranging and directing several ensembles from        admirable. After all, jazz is an ever-
1978 to the present.                                                                  evolving art form, and if you aren’t hit-
   His playing has influenced drummers from all genres who envy his powerful           ting the woodshed to learn new things
yet precise technique and the undeniable grooves he lays down. With a career          for yourself, what good are you to your
that spans over 50 years, not only is Cobham one of the most recognizable names,      own students?
but also one of the hardest working musicians in the business. He’s played with
everyone from Miles Davis and Chick Corea to Peter Gabriel and Santana. As a          JAZZed: As a young musician, did you
composer, performer, and bandleader, Cobham is one of the most prolific drum-          have 
								
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