Panamanian drummer Billy Cobham first rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s as a collaborating musician with Miles Davis and member of innovative and influential jazz fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra. On Oct. 2, the legendary drummer will make a stop at Clifton’s Ludlow Garage with his Crosswinds Project.
Often referred to as the fusion genre’s greatest drummer, Cobham was named one of the 25 most influential drummers in 2001 by Modern Drummer magazine. His style is frenetic, expansive and precise like a calculated explosion in rhythm.
In 1971, Cobham became a member of the acclaimed jazz fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra in its first incarnation after playing with the band’s founder, guitarist John McLaughlin, on Miles Davis records — including the experimental classic Bitches Brew. The jazz fusion band found success on Columbia Records, pushing boundaries and finding new ground with a mix of jazz, funk, rock and roll and Indian classical music.
In addition to Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham played on records for jazz legends like Mose Allison, Quincy Jones, Sonny Rollins and McCoy Tyner. Not just limited to jazz, Cobham also worked on recordings for singer-songwriter Carly Simon, ‘70s funk band The Brothers Johnson and Grateful Dead side project Bobby and the Midnites.
Cobham also has an extensive career as a bandleader, stretching percussion into even more innovative spheres illustrated in dozens of albums released between 1973 (Spectrum) and 2021 (Drum’n Voice Remixed 2).
The Crosswinds Project began in 2018 and revisits Cobham’s 1974 Crosswinds album and other innovative work from the 1970s. It continues with 30 more dates this fall. Billy Cobham’s Crosswinds Project features Scott Tibbs on keyboards, Tim Landers on bass and Mark Whitfield on guitar.
Billy Cobham plays Ludlow Garage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Doors open at 6 p.m. There are no COVID-19 protocols in place for the event. Info: ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.