DVD Reviews
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
  • Subscribe
Pin it
Billy Cobham: Live at 60

Billy Cobham: Live at 60 is a captivating film featuring Cobham’s stellar drumming skills.For over 30 years, Billy Cobham has received international acclaim as the consummate percussionist, performing and recording with a veritable who's who of the jazz world. It is a rare feat to be included among such luminaries as Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Ron Carter, Randy and Michael Brecker, John Scofield, George Duke, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, and many others.

Billy Cobham: Live at 60 is a unique moment in time, staged in Paris,France to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Billy's birth. Surrounded by his band, Culture Mix, Billy takes the viewer through a 75-minute musical experience featuring "Red Baron," "Dessicated Coconuts," "Cuba on the Horizon," and many others. While displaying the virtuosic drumming that Billy is known for, this DVD puts the viewer right next to Billy to share his music, his humor, and his culture as if seated behind the drums along with him. Other featured musicians include percussionist Wilber Gill, Marcus Ubeda on the keyboard, guitarist Per Gade,and Stefan Rademacher on bass.

Billy Cobham: Live at 60 retails for $39.95 and is available at your local retail store or online today through the Drummer Cafe.





REVIEW

Billy Cobham: Live at 60 is a 75-minute DVD from a live concert performance in Paris, France. Although the DVD was released in 2007, it would have been recorded in 2004 in order to align with Cobham's 60th birthday celebration; he was born in 1944.

Musicians on this live concert include Billy Cobham on drums, Wilbert Gill on steel pan and percussion, Marcus Ubeda on keyboards, Stefan Rademacher on bass, and guitarist Per Gade.

Fans of Billy Cobham know what to expect from this iconic drummer — blazing solo chops, lightening fast fills, explosive burts of energy, tasteful ensemble playing — all of which are present in this DVD, mixed with some wonderful compositional offerings on his part, including "Stratus," "Dessicated Coconuts," "Spectrum," "Red Baron," and "Cuba On The Horizon."

For those that have never seen Cobham perform, you are in for a real treat. Besides his effortless appearance as 'tears it up' behind the drums, Cobham generates his customary tapestry of color and textures around the drumkit, making use of his 'quad-grip' (four drumsticks), brushes, mallets, and other assorted apparatus.

Drummers and percussionists are sure to enjoy percussionist, Wilbert Gill's performance as well — sashaying between the steel pan (great playing by the way) and percussion set-up.

As wonderful as the DVD is, it does have a few blemishes. Cobham sounds great but seems to be out of sorts at times, rushing figures, losing the pocket, etc., all the types of things my pedantic ears tend to pick up on. With a world-class musician like Cobham, sometimes those minute little ripples can really stand out against an otherwise silky performance. I also have to say that I was not blown away with the audio quality, videography or editting on the DVD. Certainly not a deal breaker as far as adding this DVD to your music library, but certainly not the best example of Cobham's playing or recorded video performance. I have to keep in mind, this is not a studio album ... it is not about perfection. Billy Cobham: Live at 60 is about in the moment, spontaneous musical expression drawn from numerous decades of seasoning and experience ... and for that it's a beautiful project and a DVD that should be in every drummer's library ... especially fans of Billy Cobham and fusion drumming.