Piñata Music Series: Billy Cobham’ Spectrum 50 project
There are albums that change the course of popular music. Revolutionary works that represent a before and after in history. One of those albums was Spectrum (1973), the debut of Panamanian-American drummer and composer Billy Cobham. A combination of genius and intuition (most of the songs were recorded in just a couple of takes) that marked one of the highest points of jazz fusion, manifested here in a blessed alliance with rock, soul, and funk. Bands like Massive Attack and popular video games like Grand Theft Auto IV took great note of songs like “Stratus,” its irresistible centerpiece. Alongside the piano and synthesizers of Jan Hammer (Mahavishnu Orchestra), the guitar of Tommy Bolin (later of Deep Purple), and the bass of Lee Sklar, Billy Cobham made his debut with one of the cornerstones of jazz fusion. It’s a masterpiece that turns fifty years old and is the main reason for his visit, although his resume also includes nearly forty other albums under his name since then, as well as collaborations on records with Miles Davis, George Benson, Sonny Rollins, Eumir Deodato, John McLaughlin, and Tyler, The Creator.