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Drummer Billy Cobham brings his thundering Crosswinds band to Jazz Alley

Billy Cobham still carries thunder in his drumsticks. The 78-year-old legend of the jazz fusion era brought his Crosswinds Project to Seattle's Jazz Alley, honoring the drummer's landmark 1974 album Crosswinds. In an exclusive session for KNKX Cobham showed he can command a storm and also romance with a sweet breeze.

Leading a quartet with guitarist Mark Whitfield, bassist Tim Landers and keyboard player Scott Tibbs through three of his classic compositions, the veteran drummer lit a rhythmic fire under his bandmates. Landers' steady hand and expressive playing from Whitfield and Tibbs were thrilling, but each song found Cobham's drumming never far from the spotlight.

Cobham was generous with his time, spending nearly a half hour talking with KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson about his long and impressive career. He spoke fondly of his youth in New York City and his time playing jazz in the military in the late '60s. Cobham shared his surprise at first learning his debut album Spectrum has gone to #1 on the charts in 1973 and spoke about the development of hard rocking jazz fusion drums.

There's humility there, too. When asked if he felt like a big influence on drummers from jazz to progressive rock, Cobham referred to himself as a "student of the art that shares ideas." KNKX is proud to share some fascinating ideas from his Crosswinds Project at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley.

1) Crosswinds
2) The Pleasant Pheasant
3) On the Move

Studio Sessions Studio SessionBilly CobhamMark WhitfieldMiles DavisMahavishnu OrchestraJazz Alley
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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