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Cobham breaks new ground-- and air

Billy Cobham and George Duke maintained a productive collaboration for years.
Billy Cobham and George Duke maintained a productive collaboration for years.
Original Cover: Atlantic Records

Record album by Billy Cobham: Crosswinds (1974)

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Here’s why this album should be in your collection!

Crosswinds (1974) brought jazz drummer Billy Cobham lots of radio airplay and creative frontiers to explore with an impressive new group of collaborators.

After he completed a successful musical apprenticeship in the “Davis Leadership Seminar” (jam and recording sessions from the Electric Miles era) Cobham teamed with fellow DLS alumnus John McLaughlin to perform with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Then he assembled his own band with fellow Mahavishnu alum Jan Hammer, along with Tommy Bolin and Neil Sklar. The result was Spectrum (1973), a debut album that topped jazz charts and featured the legendary hit “Snoopy’s Search/Red Baron.”

For Spectrum, Cobham teamed with George Duke; they would collaborate over many years. The other musicians included John Abercrombie, Garnett Brown, Lee Pastora, and John Williams. The most significant additions were Michael and Randy Brecker.

Crosswinds contains only four songs; all of them are Cobham compositions. “Spanish Moss – A Sound Portrait” is broken into four separate parts of its own, and takes up an entire side of the album. The other tracks are “The Pleasant Pheasant,” “Crosswinds,” the title track; and “Heather,” a haunting instrumental ballad that features unforgettable solos by Duke and Michael Brecker.

This album is available in CD and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

“Heather” has been sampled by the rap group Souls of Mischief and covered in a live performance by Jessica Williams, pianist and composer.