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An interview with jazz veteran Billy Cobham



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


According to, Billy Cobham’s music has been sampled over 40 times, including two signature songs “Red Baron” (sampled eight times) and “Heather” (sampled 15 times) first released during the 1970s. A founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, Cobham co-founded his own fusion group in 1969, and then was invited to play on four cuts on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. At age 69, he’s still as strong as ever: Cobham’s current Spectrum 40 tour swings through Minneapolis on October 1 for a one-night stop at the downtown Dakota Jazz Club. “It will be a real pleasure to perform there,” he said during a recent phone interview with the MSR.

On his website,, it says that the Panama native, who grew up in New York, got his “first paying gig” when he was only eight years old, then later joined a local drum and bugle corps and attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art — where he studied music theory and drum technique. “I started on the road in [19]63,” recalls Cobham, who later played in the U.S. Army Band as a percussionist during his three years of military service in the mid-1960s. Continue Reading →

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Xcel Energy Foundation awards education grant to BDPA youth tech programs


On behalf of the Xcel Energy Foundation, Marsha Connor, communications consultant-web, Xcel Energy, recently presented a $5,000 educational grant check from the Xcel Energy Foundation to the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) Twin Cities Chapter to help BDPA’s youth technology programs.

Accepting the check was Dorothy Richburg, vice president of strategy and planning for the BDPA Twin Cities Chapter and president of Keystone Computers, Joseph Richburg, vice president of finance, BDPA, and Cushmeer Haines, president, BDPA Twin Cities. BDPA programs focus on education designed to spark student involvement in the Professional Development, High School Computer Competition, and Mentoring programs that aid in the personal and professional development of high school students. The high school students learned web programming, digital technology, and recently returned from participating in the national high school computer programming competition held in Washington, D.C.

The BDPA Twin Cities chapter typically partners with local businesses such as Xcel Energy. This partnership provides programs that increase the technical capabilities of BDPA’s membership and the local community. Xcel Energy volunteers include Connor, Lacy Lee Johnson and Jeandre Williams, Business Systems. Connor, along with Johnson and Williams, has represented Xcel Energy on the BDPA Marketing committee. Continue Reading →

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Keith’s long reverie of romance ends when Lesli pops the big question




At length, Lesli had made the transition from L.A. to NYC in fairly fine shape, getting her legs beneath her once she’d decided to accept the gig running the research library at the American Museum of Natural History. Her next step had been to sign a lease on some digs downtown. She didn’t particularly care for the Upper East Side. “All these damn snobs,” she had groused one morning as they sat poring over the N.Y. Times classifieds to find her a crib. Keith had to agree that his neighbors — for that matter, everybody he knew of in this part of town — thought their stuff didn’t stink.  He also couldn’t give a flying figure-eight. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment Spotlights!

 Revelations: Judgment Day

 Fri.-Sat., Nov. 23-24, 7 pm & Sun., Nov. 25, 6 pm
The O’Shaughnessy
2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, 651-690-6700 or
A gospel stage play about life’s tests, trials, and triumphs, Revelations asks, “Will your name be in the Book of Life?”
Special guest performances by Darnell Davis & the Remnant, Shed G. and James Grear & Company
Tickets are $20-$38. For advance tickets, go to Continue Reading →

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