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Billy Cobham Biography

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Billy Cobham, born May 16, 1948 in Panama, is widely regarded as one of the world's best and most influential drummers, best known for his jazz fusion in the 1970s, with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, where he pioneered a powerful style of drumming with jazz, rock and funk influences.

He has played and recorded with hundreds of top musicians, including Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Larry Coryell, and Horace Silver; and is famous for his explosive, fast, spectacular playing.

He has been sampled, most famously by Massive Attack in their tune "Safe from Harm", centred on the beat and bassline of Cobham's "Stratus", from his debut album Spectrum.

Prior to his emergence with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham worked with Horace Silver in 1968, then with Miles Davis, on classic recordings like Live-Evil and A Tribute to Jack Johnson. The preface to his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra was his work on John McLaughlin's album My Goal's Beyond. Cobham toured extensively from 1971 to 1973 with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, who released two studio albums and one live album. The original studio versions of tunes on the live album were later released as The Lost Trident Sessions in 1999. In May 1973, still with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham recorded his first solo album Spectrum, with musicians including Jan Hammer, from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Tommy Bolin, a guitarist who later played with heavy rock band Deep Purple. Just before the Mahavishnu Orchestra's last touring leg, in late 1973, Cobham recorded and toured with Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, in concerts which featured material from their album Love Devotion Surrender, and Cobham's own material. In 1980 he worked with Jack Bruce, in a band called Jack Bruce & Friends.

A number of solo albums followed (as of July 2005, Cobham has released over 30 recordings under his own name), and Cobham continues as a recording artist and musical educator to this day. A complete discography can be found at Cobham's own homepage.
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