Legendary jazz-fusion drummer and composer Billy Cobham has announced a unique learning opportunity for rhythm section musicians. From August 4-10, Cobham will conduct an innovative musical retreat for up to 100 instrumentalists at the picturesque Chateau Resort Bechyne, located 120 km south of Prague in the Czech Republic.
Sensaphonics, makers of custom in-ear monitors and hearing protection for many of the world’s top musicians, including Cobham, is supporting the event with a presentation by company President and hearing conservation expert, Dr. Michael Santucci.
“In designing the structure of this retreat, Billy wanted to devote a day to the art of listening. He asked me if I could extend that concept to include the importance of hearing,” notes Santucci. “That’s a great message for all musicians, and I am honored and excited at the opportunity to participate.”
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."
Cobham’s “Art of the Rhythm Section” retreat is open to drummers, bassists, keyboardists, and guitarists. It includes five days of master classes designed to provide 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 and a special Saturday night performance featuring one or more chosen rhythm sections who will open the show for a concert with Billy and the Spectrum Band.
In addition to Billy Cobham, who will organize and host the retreat, faculty will include members of his band, SPECTRUM 40: guitarist Dean Brown, keyboardist Gary Husband, and bassist Ric Fierabracci. Sound engineers Franz Erl and Ross Morgan round out the faculty and will provide technical support.
Dr. Santucci’s presentation will include both technical and practical knowledge along with a lengthy Q&A session. “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. Sensaphonics is happy to support this unique event, and we encourage young rhythm players to apply. This is a great opportunity.”
Cobham was an early adopter of in-ear technology and appreciates both the musical and health benefits it offers. "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.”
The Art of the Rhythm Section Retreat is now accepting applications. Candidates must supply a video audition and letter of recommendation. Applications are being accepted now through July 15, and can be completed online. For full details, please visit http://www.billycobhamsretreat.com