May 26, 2020
Jimmy Cobb, one of the most important drummers in jazz from the 1950's on, has died at the age of 91. The cause was lung cancer.
Had he only played on Kind of Blue, the 1959 masterpiece from the Miles Davis Sextet, his mark in the jazz world would have been made. His subtle pulse, all brushes, cymbals and snare, make the music from that historic day breathe, and along with his running mate Paul Chambers on bass, anchored the music, letting Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly the necessary room to take flight.
But Cobb played on other memorable Miles albums as well, most notably Sketches of Spain. Coltrane brought him (and Kelly to join Chambers) in for his sublime touch on the classic ballad "Naima." Kelly, Chambers and Cobb made a number of top albums as the Wynton Kelly Trio, and a classic when the backed Wes Montgomery in Smokin' at the Half Note.
I had the pleasure of seeing Jimmy as he led Cobb's Mob through a set of hard bop tunes one evening. Well into his eighties then, he seemed ageless behind the drum set, ready to call for one more tune at any time. He will be missed.
Musical selections for Podcast 746 include:
Miles Davis - "Two Bass Hit" from Miles Davis at Newport: 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series vol. 4
Wynton Kelly Trio - "The Surrey With the Fringe On Top" from Wynton Kelly!
Jimmy Cobb's Mob - title track from Cobb's Groove
Pat Martino - "Oleo" from Desperado
John Coltrane - "Naima" from Giant Steps
Jimmy Cobb - "Composition 101" from The Original Mob
Sarah Vaughan - "I Could Write a Book" from Live at Rosy's
Cannonball Adderley - "Fuller Bop Man" from Cannonball Adderley's Sharpshooters
Wes Montgomery and the Wynton Kelly Trio - "Four on Six" from Smokin' at the Half Note.
Jimmu Cobb - "John Charles" from Cobb's Corner
Miles Davis - "All Blues" from Kind of Blue