“Bayete,” one of many musical monikers Todd Cochran chose, is the name he used in two Prestige albums in the 1970s. Cochran was raised in San Francisco. Cochran was a musical prodigy, giving classical recitals as a ten-year-old. His childhood idols were Glenn Gould, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. He was formally trained at three music schools, including UCLA, University of San Jose and, later, Trinity College of Music in London. Cochran was 15 years old when he became interested in the Bay, including the sounds of Sly Stone and Moby Grape. There was a lively jazz scene with many clubs featuring internationally acclaimed talent. Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist from Los Angeles, had lived and worked in New York since the 1960s. In 1971, he moved to San Francisco and formed a quintet along with Harold Land. Cochran was a young vibraphonist who had been playing with many local musicians. Hutcherson invited Cochran to perform on a Blue Note show. Cochran organized the session from July 3 to 3, 1971. He played piano and experimented with the Fender Rhodes, contributing three tunes to the original Head On. Later reissues revealed that the band, which ranged from a quartet up to more than 20 members, had recorded seven of his songs. Cochran was only 19 years old. Cochran performed live with John Klemmer a month later; two tunes from that performance ended up on 1973’s Intensity. Cochran was a contributor to Hadley Caliman’s Impetus album in early 1972. Cochran signed a record deal at Prestige after the commercial and critical success of Hutcherson’s Head On. Bayete became his new name. He entered the studio on June 26 with Caliman, Hutcherson and Oscar Brashear, trumpeter Oscar Brashear as well as bassist James Leary III and trombonist Wayne Wallace. Worlds Around the Sun was released later that year. Three months later, in September 1972, he recorded his second album with a quintet. It was released as Seeking Other Beauty in 1973 under the name Bayete Umbra Zindiko. He was also a keyboard player on Herbie Hancock’s 1974 film soundtrack, The Spook Who Sat by the Door. He also played the piano, Rhodes, and clavinet in Julian Priester’s legendary set Love, Love in 1974. Miles Davis was his band member on James Mtume’s Rebirth Cycle. The mercurial Bayete/Cochran’s life changed at this point. He became more interested in progressive rock, fusion and jazz. He was a participant in Stomu Yamashta, a Japanese percussionist,’s first GO project. This was with Santana drummer Michael Shrieve as well as Steve Winwood. Bayete formed Automatic Man, a progressive-psychedelic rock band with Shrieve in late 1975. Two albums were recorded by them for Arista, one self-titled in 1976 and the other Visitors in 1978. Bayete continued to work in session work throughout the rest of the 1970s. He played on Peter Gabriel’s second album, as well as sessions by Alphonso, Wilding-Bonus and Airto. He was “Bayete Todd Cochran” and began a long relationship with Stanely Clarke. They first appeared on albums like Modern Man, I Wanna Play for You. Cochran started the 1980s working with ELP drummer Carl Palmer for his solo album, 1 P.M. but then switched to songwriting and production work. Cochran, sometimes referred to as “TodT Cochran”, remained focused on jazz, Ru0026B, and funk throughout the decade.

Leave a Comment