2014.05.01 Billy Cobham’s “Art of the Rhythm Section” Retreat



Billy Cobham’s Art of the Rhythm Section Retreat

Legendary jazz fusion drummer, composer, and bandleader Billy Cobham has announced a truly unique learning opportunity for rhythm section musicians. From August 4-10, Cobham will stage “Art of the Rhythm Section,” an innovative musical retreat where he and his team will impart a lifetime of lessons learned in the world of rhythm. The location for this global first will be the picturesque Chateau Resort Bechyne, located 120 km south of Prague in the Czech Republic.

Having spent his career sharing his musical gifts within bands, Cobham has decided to share this knowledge with a select group of no more than 100 advanced rhythm section musicians, working intensively to instill key principles that will help each player to better succeed as an artist and band member. This promises to be a career-enhancing event, with five days of master classes focused on teamwork, listening, and playing.

In addition to Billy Cobham, who will organize and host the retreat, other faculty members include guitarist Dean Brown, pianist Gary Husband, and bassist Ric Fierabracci. Sound engineers Franz Erl and Ross Morgan, both of whom have worked extensively with Cobham, round out the faculty and provide technical support.

At Cobham’s invitation, Dr. Michael Santucci of Sensaphonics will address the group, expanding on the theme of “listening” to include the importance of hearing health. Based on his years as a clinical audiologist specialized in working with musicians, Santucci’s presentation will include the both technical and practical knowledge along with a lengthy Q&A session.

As Billy Cobham explains, “I felt that it would be tremendously valuable to educate our musician participants about hearing conservation, so we’re delighted that Dr. Michael Santucci will present this important information from an expert’s perspective.”

“Over the years, Billy and I have talked a lot about the importance of hearing to musicians,” says Santucci. “He definitely gets it, and it’s a testament to Billy’s grasp of the big picture that he wants to impart that knowledge to others. I’m very honored and excited to be included in this unique event.”

Cobham was an early adopter of in-ear technology, and appreciates both the musical and health benefits it offers when properly used. “Back in 1994 when performing with Peter Gabriel, I was introduced to the IEM monitoring concept,” he states. “I immediately saw the advantages of having access to a discriminative monitoring environment. Being able to identify with all musical contributors within the performance made me more secure in what I chose to contribute in the real time development of the group image. With Sensaphonics as part of my creative arsenal, I am at least two steps closer to a level of musical consistency that I would find difficult to achieve without use of the IEM system.”

Billy Cobham’s vision for “Art of the Rhythm Section” is to take advanced instrumentalists and provide them with a supportive, immersive opportunity for learning, growth, and camaraderie. Activities will include five days of lessons with Billy Cobham and his team, with lectures, discussions, video resources, and playing exercises. There will also be nightly jam sessions.

This retreat is intended for all rhythm section members – not just drummers! Attendees will work with faculty specializing in their instrument, and will also play in a cohesive rhythm section as a critical piece of this immersive learning environment.

The “Art of the Rhythm Section” Retreat will be limited to a total of 100 musicians and is now accepting applications. Candidates must supply a video audition and letter of recommendation for consideration, along with a deposit of 100 Euros (roughly $136) toward the 990€ tuition. Applications are being accepted now through July 1, and can be completed online. For full details, please visit the Billy Cobham’s Retreat website.
















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