- Phil Freeman
Episode 14 of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with drummer Billy Cobham, an absolute jazz legend. He first came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when he worked with Miles Davis on A Tribute to Jack Johnson, and then joined guitarist John McLaughlin‘s new project, a band called the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Cobham started making records under his own name in 1973, with albums like Spectrum, Crosswinds, Total Eclipse, Shabazz, and Inner Conflicts all establishing him as not just an amazing drummer but also a unique compositional voice in the realm of jazz fusion. At the same time, he was doing sessions for McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Stanley Turrentine and many other artists, particularly on the CTI label. He also played on the John McLaughlin/Carlos Santana album Love Devotion Surrender, worked with the Fania All-Stars on their Latin•Soul•Rock album and the concert that was released as Live at Yankee Stadium, and played on literally hundreds of other records. In this conversation, we discuss as many aspects of his career as we had time for, as well as his approach to drumming and to teaching, what he thinks of younger players, and much, much more. It’s a very interesting conversation, and I hope you enjoy it.