Cobham’s breakthrough with the Mahavishnu Orchestra around 1970 was a defining moment in drum history. With his massive double bass drum kit and unbelievably furious rolls he seemed almost to mock the puny efforts of his predecessors in both jazz and rock. Like Buddy Rich, Cobham was a jazz virtuoso who inspired rock drummers as much as jazzers.
He also introduced the truly modern extended kit, with mounted gong drum, upturned China trash-ride and pitched Octobans. Finally, he did all this playing ‘open-handed’, leading logically with his left so as not to cross over hands to the hi-hat.
Mahavishnu Orchestra: Celestial Terrestrial Commuters; Noonward Race
Miles Davis: Right Off (A Tribute To Jack Johnson)
Billy Cobham: Quadrant 4; Stratus