The iconic drummer Billy Cobham and his Spectrum 40 Band performs at an exclusive show at the Mauch Chunk Opera House here in Jim Thorpe on Friday, January 18. The Opera House will be the first of only two East Coast venues the band will visit in 2013.
I first witnessed the spectacle of Mr. Cobham’s playing in 1973, when I saw him with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the jazz-fusion supergroup also featuring John McGlaughlin (guitars), Jan Hammer (keys), Jerry Goodman (violin) and Rick Laird (bass) in New York’s Central Park.
I had never seen such instrumental virtuosity and sheer power, and haven’t seen anything to match it since. That concert later became their live album, Between Nothingness and Eternity.
After Mahavishnu, Cobham released the seminal fusion albums Spectrum and Crosswinds along with many others. He performed with groups like Bobby and the Midnights (Bob Weir), Jack Bruce and Friends, Carlos Santana, and jazz greats like Stanley Clarke, McCoy Tyner, George Duke, Larry Coryell, and of course, Miles Davis.
Cobham visited Jim Thorpe in 2008 with Victor Bailey (bass – Weather Report), Tom Coster (keys – Santana) and current member Dean Brown (guitars – David Sanborn). John Ernesto, director of the Reading Jazz Festival, very aptly described the show as a “musical storm surge.” He returned in 2010 with a completely different band of European musicians, that was no less explosive. We even squeezed in a very cool interview at WRTI in Philadelphia.
So now, Mr. Cobham returns in January with a revised and appropriately awesome Spectrum Band.
Accompanied by Dean Brown – guitar, Ric Fierabracci – bass, Gary Husband – keyboards, and former Mahavishnu bandmate Jerry Goodman, Cobham will be performing favorites like Stratus and Crosswinds along with tunes rarely heard, such as Quadrant 4.
For a random survey of where Cobham has been musically in past years, while listening to particularly striking example of his style, see this video. For an interview with the Opera House’s staff writer Geoff Gehman posted just this week, click here.
All seats are excellent at the Opera House. A chance to experience a truly legendary musician and his band don’t come around very often, and the Mauch Chunk Opera House is no ordinary place to experience it. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the chance to see one of the finest performing bands anywhere, but in a far more intimate space than what you’re used to.
Call 570-325-0249 for tickets or reserve your seats online.