Cobb drumming c. 2008
|Birth name||Wilbur James Cobb|
|Born||January 20, 1929|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Died||May 24, 2020 (aged 91)|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Wilbur James Cobb (January 20, 1929 – May 24, 2020) was an American jazz drummer. He was part of Miles Davis's First Great Sextet. At the time of his death, he had been the band's last surviving member for nearly thirty years. He was awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship in 2009.
Cobb was born in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1929. Before he began his music career, he listened to jazz albums and stayed awake into the late hours of the night in order to listen to Symphony Sid performing in New York City. Cobb started his touring career in 1950 with the saxophonist Earl Bostic. He subsequently performed with vocalist Dinah Washington, pianist Wynton Kelly, saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, bassist Keter Betts, Frank Wess, Leo Parker, and Charlie Rouse. His website also recounts his gigs with Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, and Dizzy Gillespie that took place before 1957.
Cobb joined Miles Davis in 1958 as part of the latter's First Great Sextet, after Adderley recommended him to Davis. Cobb's best known recorded work is on Davis' Kind of Blue (1959). Cobb was the last surviving player from the sessions, a distinction he held for just under the last three decades of his life. He also played on other Davis albums, including Sketches of Spain (1960), Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall (1962), In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete, and briefly on Porgy and Bess (1959) and Sorcerer. His subtle and understated demeanor drew the admiration of many including Davis. However, this also meant that he did not get the same level of recognition that his fellow drummers would. Cobb had the propensity to eschew publicity and did not record his first set as bandleader until 1983, with the release of So Nobody Else Can Hear.
Cobb left the band in 1963, when Tony Williams was brought in by Davis. He formed a trio with pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers, both of whom were part of Davis' rhythm section. The group recorded with Kenny Burrell (guitar) and J. J. Johnson (trombone), before breaking up at the end of the decade. Cobb went on to join the Great Jazz Trio, together with Hank Jones on piano and Eddie Gómez on bass. He also toured with Sarah Vaughan during the 1970s, and taught at Stanford University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Berklee College of Music. He played in a tribute band called "4 Generations of Miles", together with Ron Carter (bass) and George Coleman (tenor saxophone).
During his career, Cobb worked with Bill Evans, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Art Pepper, Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson, Gil Evans, Kenny Dorham, Frank Strozier, Bobby Timmons, Booker Little, Johnny Griffin, Akiko Tsuruga, Bertha Hope, Hamiet Bluiett, Nat Adderley, Mark Murphy, Jon Hendricks, Joe Henderson, Fathead Newman, Geri Allen, Larry Willis, Walter Booker, Red Garland, Richie Cole, Ernie Royal, Jerome Richardson, Jimmy Cleveland, Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Stitt, Nancy Wilson, Ricky Ford, Richard Wyands, John Webber, and Peter Bernstein, among many others.
In June 2008, Jimmy Cobb was the recipient of the Don Redman Heritage Award. On October 17, 2008, Cobb was one of six artists to receive the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts NEA Jazz Masters award.
Personal life and death
Cobb was married to Eleana Steinberg Cobb until his death. Together, they had two daughters, Serena and Jaime, both of whom survived him.
- So Nobody Else Can Hear (Contempo Vibrato, 1983)
- Encounter (Philology, 1994)
- Only for the Pure of Heart (Fable/Lightyear, 1998)
- Four Generations of Miles: A Live Tribute to Miles (Chesky, 2002)
- Cobb's Groove (Milestone, 2003)
- Yesterdays (RteesanCobb Music, 2003)
- Tribute to Wynton Kelly & Paul Chambers (Sound Hills, 2004)
- Cobb Is Back in Italy! (Azzurra, 2005)
- Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb (Marsalis/Rounder, 2006))
- Taking a Chance on Love (Azzurra, 2006)
- New York Time (Chesky, 2006)
- Cobb's Corner (Chesky, 2007)
- Jazz in the Key of Blue (Chesky, 2009)
- Live at Smalls (Smallslive, 2010)
- Remembering Miles 'Tribute to Miles Davis' (Sony Music, 2011)
- The Original Mob (Smoke Sessions, 2014)
- You'll See (SteepleChase, 2016)
- This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions, 2019)
- Remembering U (Jimmy Cobb World, 2019)
With Cannonball Adderley
- Sophisticated Swing (EmArcy, 1956)
- Cannonball Enroute (EmArcy, 1957)
- Cannonball's Sharpshooters (EmArcy, 1958)
- Jump for Joy (EmArcy, 1958)
- Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago (Mercury, 1959)
- Cannonball Takes Charge (Riverside, 1959)
With Nat Adderley
- That's Right! (Riverside, 1960)
- On the Move (Theresa, 1983)
- Blue Autumn (Theresa, 1983)
- We Remember Cannon (In + Out, 1989)
- Autumn Leaves (Sweet Basil, 1990)
- Work Song: Live at Sweet Basil (Sweet Basil, 1990 )
- Talkin' About You (Landmark, 1990 )
With Toshiko Akiyoshi
With Lorez Alexandria
With Geri Allen
With Dorothy Ashby
- Rhythm-a-Ning (Candid, 1989)
With Walter Benton
- Out of This World (Jazzland, 1960)
With Walter Bishop Jr.
With Nick Brignola
- Burn Brigade (Bee Hive, 1979)
With Paul Chambers
- Go (Vee-Jay, 1959)
With Al Cohn
- Son of Drum Suite (RCA Victor, 1960)
With John Coltrane
- Standard Coltrane (Prestige, 1958)
- Stardust (Prestige, 1958)
- Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane (Prestige, 1958)
- Bahia (Prestige, 1958)
- Giant Steps (on "Naima" only, Atlantic, 1959)
- Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic, 1959)
With Miles Davis
- Porgy and Bess (Columbia, 1958)
- 1958 Miles (Columbia, 1958)
- Jazz at the Plaza (Columbia, 1958)
- Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959)
- Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960)
- Someday My Prince Will Come (Columbia, 1961)
- In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete (Columbia, 1961)
- Miles & Monk at Newport (Columbia, 1963)
- Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 (Columbia Legacy, 2015)
With Joey DeFrancesco
- Wonderful! Wonderful! (HighNote, 2012)
With Kenny Dorham
- Blue Spring (Riverside, 1959)
With Kenny Drew
- Lite Flite (SteepleChase, 1977)
With Ricky Ford
- Flying Colors (Muse, 1980)
- Tenor for the Times (Muse, 1981)
- Interpretations (Muse, 1982)
- Future's Gold (Muse, 1983)
- Shorter Ideas (Muse, 1984)
- Saxotic Stomp (Muse, 1987)
With Curtis Fuller
- Soul Trombone (Impulse!, 1961)
With Benny Golson
- Pop + Jazz = Swing (Audio Fidelity, 1961) – also released as Just Jazz!
- Turning Point (Mercury, 1962)
With Paul Gonsalves
- Gettin' Together (Jazzland, 1960)
With Bunky Green
- My Babe (Vee-Jay, 1960 )
With Bill Hardman
With Joe Henderson
With John Hendricks
- Luminous (Nilva, 1985)
With Wynton Kelly
- Kelly Blue (Riverside, 1959)
- Wynton Kelly! (Vee-Jay, 1961)
- Someday My Prince Will Come (Vee-Jay, 1961)
- Comin' in the Back Door (Verve, 1963)
- It's All Right! (Verve, 1964)
- Undiluted (Verve, 1965)
- Blues on Purpose (Xanadu, 1965)
- Full View (Riverside, 1967)
- Last Trio Session (Delmark, 1968)
With Hubert Laws
- The Laws of Jazz (Atlantic, 1964)
With Johnny Lytle
- New and Groovy (Tuba, 1966)
With Harold Mabern
With Pat Martino
- Desperado (Prestige, 1970)
With Ronnie Mathews
- Legacy (Bee Hive, 1979)
With Billy Mitchell
- De Lawd's Blues (Xanadu, 1980)
With Wes Montgomery
- Full House (Riverside, 1962)
- Boss Guitar (Riverside, 1963)
- Guitar on the Go (Riverside, 1963)
- The Alternative Wes Montgomery (Riverside, 1963)
- Smokin' at the Half Note (Verve, 1965)
- Smokin' Guitar (Verve, 1965)
- Willow Weep for Me (Verve, 1969)
With Frank Morgan
With Art Pepper
With Jimmy Raney
- Here's That Raney Day (Ahead, 1980)
With Sonny Red
With Shirley Scott
With Wayne Shorter
- Introducing Wayne Shorter (Vee-Jay, 1959)
With Don Sleet
- All Members (Jazzland, 1961)
With Sonny Stitt
- In Style (Muse, 1982)
With Teri Thornton
- Devil May Care (Riverside, 1961)
With Bobby Timmons
- This Here Is Bobby Timmons (Riveside, 1960)
- Easy Does It (Riverside, 1961)
- From the Bottom (Riverside, 1964)
- The Soul Man! (Prestige, 1966)
- Got to Get It! (Milestone, 1967)
With Norris Turney
With Phil Upchurch
- Feeling Blue (Milestone, 1967)
With Sarah Vaughan
With Cedar Walton
With Dinah Washington
With C. I. Williams
- When Alto Was King (Mapleshade, 1997)
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