My love affair with odd meters started back when I was in high school. Sparks flew the first time I heard “The Inner Mounting Flame” by The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Billy Cobham’s drumming was the perfect combination of technique, musicality and intensity. I was fifteen years old and immediately became fascinated with learning how to play in time signatures like 7/8, 5/4 and 9/8. Suddenly, all of those INXS albums seemed so boring.
I went out and bought the subsequent Mahavishnu albums including “Birds of Fire” and “Between Nothingness and Eternity”, but it was Billy Cobham’s 1973 solo album, “Spectrum”, that ultimately made the biggest impression on me. From the album’s opening track, “Quardrant 4” (a double bass shuffle that makes the intro to “Hot for Teacher” seem like a walk in the park), to the ultra laid back closer, “Red Baron”, Spectrum is the ultimate study in fusion drumming. Billy’s playing is both both virtuosic and inspiring, while always remaining musical.
In honor of Billy, here’s my first odd meter loop (in 7/8). For this very special occasion, I decided to pull out my “big” hi hats, which are essentially a 17″ K dark crash on the top and an A Custom on the bottom. The sheer size of these cymbals tend to add some extra weight to the feel, while the hand hammered tonalities of the K keep things nice and dark. I invited Jan Hammer to come jam on some keytar but unfortunately, he was already hangin’ with Crockett and Tubs. Maybe next time?
Download the Logic session here. (78MB)
Get the .wav file here.