Billy Cobham's cobweb
Billy Cobham Video Clips
The following clips are viewable with Windows Media Player., or Realplayer. They will take a few moments to download because some of these clips are 15 minutes long. But I think you will find that the quality and rarity will be worth the wait ! They represent a chronological visual history of some of the groups and collaborations Billy Cobham has participated in.
The clips are not perfect so please excuse any video or audio flaws. They are believed to be in the public domain as they have been broadcast on European or Japanese TV.
I put these performances up here for everyone to enjoy . In that spirit I would ask that you do not put them up on Youtube , MySpace, or any similar site ! Comments, corrections or additions to what I present are always appreciated. Enjoy the amazing variety of music created by Mr. Billy Cobham !!!
CLIP A - This is from 1969 , in black and white, from Danish TV. It's the Horace Silver Quintet playing the tune entitled "Nutville". The band also includes Bennie Maupin on sax, John Williams on bass, and Bill Hardman on trumpet. Billy is playing a Meazzi pedal-tom during his solo. I believe this to be Billy Cobham's first TV appearance anywhere.
CLIP B - This is from 1972 with the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. It's from the German TV concert entitled Das Sonntag Konzert. It contains the ending of "Meeting of the Spirits into You Know,You Know", which is the way the band usually opened their shows at that time. The band also included John McLaughlin on guitar, Jan Hammer on keys, Jerry Goodman on violin, and Rick Laird on bass. My favorite band of all time.
CLIP C - Another clip from 1972 with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. This one is from BBC TV . The tune is entitled "The Noonward Race". Billy had switched to double bass by this time at the urging of John McLaughlin. He is playing clear fiberglass shell drums called Fibes on this and the previous clip. He needed drums that would project as loudly as the amplification the band used.
CLIP D - This one is from 1974 from a live appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, a place Mr. Cobham has been invited to play at many times. He has been fronting his own band now for a couple of years and this performance was recorded for their third album called Shabazz. The band featured Randy Brecker on trumpet, brother Michael Brecker on Sax, Glenn Ferris on trombone, Alex Blake on bass, John Abercrombie on guitar, Milcho Leviev on keys and Lee Pastora on Percussion. This tune is the Cobham classic "Crosswind".
CLIP E - Downbeat magazine has always had "polls" each year for who was the "best" at each instrument in various jazz categories. In 1976 Billy Cobham won for best jazz drummer. There was a show to showcase these winners on Soundstage hosted by WTTW in Chicago. This tune features Stanley Clarke on bass, Chick Corea on keys, and Jean Luc Ponty on violin with Billy on blue Vistalites playing "Lopsy Lu".
CLIP F - 1976 also saw Billy back at Montreux again that summer with a new band called the Cobham-Duke band featuring George Duke on keys, Alphonso Johnson on bass, and John Scofield on guitar. This tune is entitled "Juicy" and we see Billy has added the uniquely-shaped North drums to his immense Fibes kit !
CLIP G - We move now to 1978. Billy is back to Montreux with another new band in support of his album for Columbia Records called Magic. This clip is from an Italian TV broadcast called Schegge and the tune is entitled "Anteres, the Star". The touring band includes Alvin Batiste on clarinet, Tom Coster on keys, Ray Mouton and Charles Singleton on guitars, and American Idol's Randy Jackson on bass. Wonder what he would say now about the huge sunglasses he was wearing ?
CLIP H - the next clip is from 1980 recorded in Grugahalle, Essen for the German TV show Rockpalast. Cobham is a member of the band Jack Bruce & Friends which also includes David Sancious on keys, and Clem Clempson on guitar. This song is called "Bird Alone".
CLIP I - On Halloween night in 1980, a musical collaboration took place in NYC that was totally unexpected. The Grateful Dead had been filming their week-long shows at Radio City Music Hall when they were joined onstage by Mr. Cobham during the drum duets portion of their set known to Deadheads as Drums & Space. The VHS tape titles it "Rhythm Devils". But here Billy joins drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart on drums for that and also the next tune "The Other One". I wish I had gone to this one.
CLIP J - 1982 finds Cobham fronting another band again. This one is called Glass Menagerie and features Dean Brown on guitar, Tim Landers on bass, and Gil Goldstein on keys. Another performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival with the song entitled "Nickels and Dimes" . Apologies for the buzzing on the audio with my copy.
CLIP K - Moving now to 1983 we have an appearance on the German TV broadcast Jazz in Concert with Mike Mainieri on vibes, Warren Bernhardt on keys, and Eberhard Weber on bass. The name of this tune is "Flying Colours".
CLIP L - Also from 1983 is another appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. This time Cobham finds himself a member of The Festival All-Stars . This group also includes Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Lew Tabackin on sax and flute, Joann Brackeen on piano, and Charlie Haden on bass. Here they perform the Thelonius Monk piece "Rhythm-a-ning".
CLIP M - In 1984 Billy was playing as a member of Bobby & the Midnites with leader Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead on guitar, Alphonso Johnson on bass, Bobby Cochran on guitar and Dave Garland on keys. This was filmed as part of the World of Rhythm series produced by Cobham. The song performed here is "At the Festival". Note Billy singing backup vocals on this piece.
CLIP N - we jump now to 1987 for a clip off Italian TV. Cobham was fronting his own band again and had done 3 albums for a new label, GRP. This touring edition of the band performs a song off the third GRP album titled Picture This. The band includes Gerry Etkins on keys, Todd Carlin on keys, Gary Footz on bass, and Sa Davis on percussion. The tune is entitled "Two For Juan".
CLIP O - 1988 finds Cobham again performing on Italian TV, this time from Rome. He performs a drum and percussion duet with the late Don Moye.
CLIP P - moving along to 1992 we find Billy fronting a trio with Wayne Krantz on guitar and Ira Coleman on bass. This performance is from an early morning TV show called A.M. Buffalo . Here Billy is using his triple-bass Mapex drum kit. Unfortunately, I don't know the title of the piece. If someone does, let me know.
CLIP Q - Another project from 1992 found Billy in Bahia, Brazil for a project with Larry Coryell on guitar, Donald Harrison on sax, Dori Caymmi on guitar, Marcio Montaroyos and others. It was an outdoor concert filmed for laser disc and CD called Live From Bahia. The song here is "Old City,New City".
CLIP R - The next clip is of the Cobham, Bailey, Rypdal trio in Germany at what was called the Festival Internationales of Jazz. I was told it was also called the Aqua Wein Festival. I'm also not sure of the date of this show, but I feel it would be around this time of 1994-95. The band performs two tunes- a duet with Cobham and Bailey in tribute to Joe Zawinul of Weather Report who played the night before, and of which Victor Bailey was also a member, called "Birdland". They are then joined by Terje Rypdal for the Cobham piece "Panama"
CLIP S - Fast forward up to 1997 to a performance with the band called Spaces Revisited which was a remembrance of the recording Billy played on with Larry Coryell called Spaces. This band features Coryell on guitar with Bireli Lagrene also on guitar and Richard Bona on bass. It was taped at the Fabrik Club in Hamburg, Germany. Two pieces are featured here - the first is called "Hong Kong Breeze", and the second is the album title piece "Spaces Revisited".
CLIP T - Early 1998 finds Billy doing a show for BBC-TV called Jazz 606 Club. The band includes Randy Brecker on trumpet, Gary Husband on keys, Stefan Rademacher on bass, and Carl Orr on guitar. The song is called "Mirage".
CLIP U - Two weeks later Cobham is in San Francisco at the Maritime Hall doing a concert with Jazz is Dead, the instrumental tribute to the Dead's music band he was part of at that time. The other members included Alphonso Johnson on bass, Jimmy Herring on guitar, and T. Lavitz on keys. They perform a beautiful rendition of "Scarlet Begonias" which becomes a duet with Alphonso on bass and Billy on Zendrum.
CLIP V - Summer of 1998 finds Billy back at the Montreux Jazz Festival once again with George Duke, Carl Orr, and Stefan Rademacher. They perform the tune "From Dusk to Dawn". For some reason, there is audio distortion on the high end of this clip which is not on my original. I haven't been able to remove it .
CLIP W - This next offering is a very brief clip of rehearsals for the Technics Jazzsport 2000 held in Diechtorhallen, Hamburg Germany. It shows Billy with the London Symphony Orchestra and answering a question.
CLIP X - The next clip is Billy with the original line-up of Culture Mix - Stefan Rademacher on bass, Junior Gill on pan percussion, Marcos Ubeda on keys, and Per Gade on guitar performing at the Burghausen International Jazzwoche in 2003 for German TV. The song is called "Five Day Run".
CLIP Y - The final clip is Billy Cobham playing as a guest with Cuban band Asere at the Womad Festival 2004. I don't know the title .
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