Billy Cobham Announces the Return of His “Art of the Rhythm Section” Retreat

Drumming legend and fusion pioneer Billy Cobham will bring his highly acclaimed Art of the Rhythm Section Retreat back to the Mesa Arts Center for its third year, offering a one-of-a-kind immersive educational program for guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists, and for the first time, woodwind players.

Geared for advanced rhythm section students, music educators and working professionals alike, this intensive program is designed to give experienced musicians a range of rewarding opportunities to delve into the finer points of working as a cohesive unit in the rhythm section, and develop stronger communications and teamwork skills.

Participants will be coached from a variety of perspectives, from Billy Cobham, who leads the program, along with global educator Dom Famularo as moderator. Additional special guest coaches include Ron Carter, Kenny Barron and Lee Oskar, along with the core coaching team, consisting of Billy’s Crosswinds Project Band: Fareed Haque (guitar), Tim Landers (bass), Scott Tibbs (keys) and Paul Hanson (bassoon/sax).

Billy Cobham remarks, “The unique format of the program allows participants to explore and expand their artistry, develop and refine their ‘band face’ and focus on the all-important elements of teamwork and collaboration, so that all types of rhythm section instrumentalists can benefit and learn from the perspective of each one of our coaches.”

Through a variety of learning experiences, including interactive lectures, discussions, demonstrations, playing exercises and nightly jam sessions, participants will discover how to:

  • Gain and build trust among fellow Rhythm Section musicians in performance.
  • Stay in sync with yourself so that you can control what you play through your instrument while receiving information from your colleagues in the Rhythm Section.
  • Keenly listen in performance, interpret what is offered by your fellow players and offer effective musical ideas in return.
  • Control tempo and provide a sense of security in performance.
  • Present a more harmonious musical character through heightened awareness.
  • Remain in control of syncopated musical ideas within the performance.

Participants will enjoy a rare musical treat during this week-long program, “The Art of Three in Conversation and Song” with Billy Cobham, Ron Carter and Kenny Barron on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Piper Theatre of the Mesa Arts Center, moderated by Dom Famularo. The week-long retreat comes to a grande finale with a full-length public concert by Billy Cobham and the Crosswinds Project Band on Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m., in the same venue.

Enrollment for the program is now open to advanced students, music educators and working professionals.

For more information and to register, visit

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