Thanks to Mike Paschall for sharing this. A recording of the livestream from Billy Cobham and the band in Ardmore Music Hall. Wonderful stuff.
The tour features legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker. Here is an excerpt from my interview with Randy for “Six Days at Ronnie Scott’s: Billy Cobham on Jazz Fusion and the Act of Creation.”
GRUBER: It fascinates me that Bill at 73 is not only touring a lot but almost every year producing new music. What is it for men like you and Bill that motivates you to continue to create and innovate when you can simply play other people’s music or rely on things you might have done years ago?
BRECKER: It’s a good question and I don’t know if I can put myself on a level of Billy’s output, which is really just incredible, but I think it has to do with, after you do something, it gets old pretty quickly. So, we are always trying, we just want to play something new, we can’t rest on our laurels too long. Plus, this is what we do. We don’t have many outside interests. You find that with a lot of great artists. I’m very close for instance with Paul Simon, and a tour manager that works with Paul and Bob Dylan. I asked him the same question, how come most guys are still killing themselves on tour? Not everybody has to do it. He said, “Look man, they don’t know what else to do with themselves.” Other than play, write music and tour, I don’t have a lot of outside interests. Of course my famIly, I want to be home sometime, but that’s what motivates us I think. We love to play. And for my money, I think Bill is, I swear to God, playing better than ever. I heard him in Brazil, maybe two, three years ago with Jeff Berlin and Scott Henderson, it was a trio and man, he just played better than ever. Everything is just settled now. It’s incredible.
GRUBER: When you watch him in YouTube videos from the ’70’s and ’80’s, to now, he really does have quite a physical presence.
BRECKER: And let me say one other thing. In the ensuing years, I wouldn’t play with him regularly, more like a special guest thing. But every time I did, I noticed he always brought something new to the table. Not only new music, the way he played, it always fascinated me. Some kind of new drum that he invented or something I never heard before. That alone, throughout the years, is quite an accomplishment.
GRUBER: Do you have some favorite memories on or off-stage?
BRECKER: There are a lot of them. How do I narrow it down? I was just always completely knocked out playing with him. (Laughs.) I probably shouldn’t say this. I remember he was so confident of his playing – as he should have been because I think he was the greatest drummer and still is – but when drum machines first came out, he tried to overdub the drum machine over his track. That didn’t work too well. I remember the look on his face.
GRUBER: Where do you think he fits in the history of percussion? How would you sum up his cumulative contribution to the music world?
BRECKER: He always would mention Tony Williams and Jack. After that period it was just Billy as far as I am concerned. The guy who originated the whole thing was Bill. The fact that he has been playing so long and is still this great, places him at the forefront of jazz drumming, of composition. He has had the same kind of influence on drummers that Jaco had on bass players.