Jimmy Cobb

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Jimmy Cobb
Cobb behind a drum kit
Cobb drumming c. 2008
Background information
Birth nameWilbur James Cobb
Born(1929-01-20)January 20, 1929
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedMay 24, 2020(2020-05-24) (aged 91)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Years active1949–2020

Wilbur James "Jimmy" Cobb (January 20, 1929 – May 24, 2020) was an American jazz drummer.[1] He was part of Miles Davis's First Great Sextet. At the time of his death, he had been the Sextet's last surviving member for nearly thirty years. He was awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Cobb was born in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1929.[2][3] Before he began his music career, he listened to jazz albums and stayed awake into the late hours of the night to listen to Symphony Sid broadcasting from New York City.[4] Raised Catholic, he was also exposed to Church music.[5]

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,[3][6] bassist Keter Betts,[7] Frank Wess,[8] Leo Parker, and Charlie Rouse.[9] His website also recounts his gigs with Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, and Dizzy Gillespie that took place before 1957.[3]


Cobb joined Miles Davis in 1958 as part of the latter's First Great Sextet,[3] after Adderley recommended him to Davis.[10] Cobb's best known recorded work is on Davis' Kind of Blue (1959).[11][12] Cobb was the last surviving player from the sessions, a distinction that, after Davis's death in 1991, he held for almost three decades.[2] 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.[2][3] His subtle and understated demeanor drew the admiration of many including Davis.[2][13] However, this also meant that he did not get the same level of recognition that his fellow drummers would.[2] Cobb had the propensity to eschew publicity and did not record his first set as bandleader until 1983,[14] with the release of So Nobody Else Can Hear.[6]

Jimmy Cobb with the Nat Adderley Quintet, 1993

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 toured and recorded as a trio, and also worked with Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Joe Henderson, J. J. Johnson and others. Chambers died in 1969, though Kelly and Cobb had occasionally used other bassists in the late 1960s as Chambers' health declined Kelly died in 1971.[15] Cobb went on to join the Great Jazz Trio, together with Hank Jones on piano and Eddie Gómez on bass.[13] He also toured with Sarah Vaughan during the 1970s,[13][15] and taught at Stanford University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Berklee College of Music.[13] He played in a tribute band called "4 Generations of Miles", together with Ron Carter (bass), Mike Stern (guitar), and George Coleman (tenor saxophone).[16]

During his career, Cobb worked with Bill Evans,[13] Clark Terry, Stan Getz,[10] John Coltrane,[6] Wes Montgomery, Art Pepper, Wayne Shorter,[14] Benny Golson,[2] 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,[17] Fathead Newman,[18] Geri Allen,[19] Larry Willis, Walter Booker,[20][21] Red Garland,[22] Richie Cole,[9] Ernie Royal, Jerome Richardson, Jimmy Cleveland, Philly Joe Jones,[23] Sonny Stitt, Nancy Wilson, Ricky Ford,[8] Richard Wyands, John Webber, and Peter Bernstein,[24] among many others.[14]


In June 2008, Jimmy Cobb was the recipient of the Don Redman Heritage Award.[25] On October 17, 2008, Cobb was one of six artists to receive the 2009 National Endowment for the Arts NEA Jazz Masters award.[26]

Personal life and death[edit]

Cobb was married to Eleana Steinberg Cobb until his death. Together, they had two daughters, Serena and Jaime, both of whom survived him.[2]

Cobb died on May 24, 2020, at his home in Manhattan. He was 91 and had been suffering from lung cancer.[2]



As leader/co-leader[edit]

  • So Nobody Else Can Hear (Contempo Vibrato, 1983) – recorded in 1981
  • Encounter with Ada Montellanico (Philology, 1994)
  • Only for the Pure of Heart (Fable/Lightyear, 1998) – live
  • Four Generations of Miles: A Live Tribute to Miles with George Coleman, Mike Stern, Ron Carter (Chesky, 2002)
  • Jimmy Cobb Trio (Azzurra Music, 2002)
  • Cobb's Groove (Milestone, 2003)
  • Yesterdays (RteesanCobb Music, 2003)
  • Taking a Chance on Love featuring Marco Tamburini (Sound Hills, 2004)
  • Tribute to Wynton Kelly & Paul Chambers (Sound Hills, 2004)
  • Cobb Is Back in Italy! (Azzurra Music, 2005)
  • Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb (Marsalis/Rounder, 2006) – recorded in 2005
  • 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)
  • The Super Trio, Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise with Massimo Farao, Ron Carter (Venus, 2018)
  • This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions, 2019) – live
  • Remembering U featuring Roy Hargrove (Jimmy Cobb World, 2019) – recorded in 2016

As sideman[edit]

With Cannonball Adderley

With Nat Adderley

With Lorez Alexandria

With John Coltrane

With Miles Davis

With Ricky Ford

With Benny Golson

With Joe Henderson

With Hank Jones

  • The Great Jazz Trio, Threesome (Eastworld, 1982)
  • The Great Jazz Trio, What's New (Eastworld, 1982)
  • The Great Jazz Trio, The Club New Yorker (Denon, 1983)
  • The Great Jazz Trio, Ambrosia (Denon, 1983)
  • The Great Jazz Trio, N.Y.Sophisticate: a Tribute to Duke Ellington (Denon, 1984)
  • The Great Jazz Trio, Monk's Mood (Denon, 1984)
  • West of 5th (Chesky, 2006)

With Wynton Kelly

With Wes Montgomery

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Sonny Red

With Shirley Scott

With Bobby Timmons

With Sarah Vaughan

With others


  1. ^ Ron Wynn. "Jimmy Cobb – Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Weiner, Natalie (May 25, 2020). "Jimmy Cobb, The Pulse Of 'Kind Of Blue,' Dies At 91". NPR. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Helmore, Edward (May 25, 2020). "Jimmy Cobb, drummer on Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, dies aged 91". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Sharp, David (August 20, 2019). "'Kind of Blue' drummer still keeping time as album turns 60". Associated Press News. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Bledsoe: Knoxville Jazz Festival headliner sunny 50 years after 'Blue'". knoxnews.com. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Reed, Ryan; Shteamer, Hank (May 25, 2020). "Jazz Drummer Jimmy Cobb, Who Played on Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue,' Dead at 91". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Hart, Ron (August 17, 2019). "As 'Kind of Blue' Turns 60, Drummer Jimmy Cobb Shares Miles Davis Memories". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Jimmy Cobb – Bio". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Jimmy Cobb". Vail Daily. July 7, 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Contreras, Russell (May 25, 2020). "Jimmy Cobb, 'Kind of Blue' drummer for Miles Davis, dies". Associated Press News. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "All-Time 100 Albums – Kind of Blue". Time Entertainment. January 27, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  12. ^ "The Dozens: The Golden Anniversary of Porgy and Bess". Jazz.com. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Adam (May 25, 2020). "Jimmy Cobb, consummate jazz drummer for Miles Davis, dies at 91". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Aswad, Jem (May 25, 2020). "Jimmy Cobb, Last Surviving Member of Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' Band, Dies at 91". Variety. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Dillon, Nancy (May 25, 2020). "Jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, last surviving member of Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue' sextet, dies at 91". Daily News. New York. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  16. ^ Litweiler, John (March 1, 2003). "George Coleman/Mike Stern/Ron Carter/Jimmy Cobb: 4 Generations of Miles". JazzTimes. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  17. ^ Owsley, Dennis (April 29, 2016). "The Career Of Jimmy Cobb". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  18. ^ Edwards, Michael (June 1, 2004). "David "Fathead" Newman: Song for the New Man". JazzTimes. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Was, David (September 1, 2006). "Geri Allen's 'Timeless Portraits and Dreams'". NPR. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  20. ^ Verrastro, Scott (November 29, 2006). "Bassist Walter Booker Dies at 72". JazzTimes. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  21. ^ "Jazz Events". The New York Times. June 28, 1982. p. C13. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  22. ^ Chinen, Nate (January 20, 2017). "A Take Five Salute to Jimmy Cobb, the Consummate Hard-Bop Drummer". WBGO. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  23. ^ "JJ 09/59: Miles Davis – Porgy And Bess". Jazz Journal. September 1959. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  24. ^ Kahn, Ashley (November 1, 2003). "Jimmy Cobb: The Reluctant Don". JazzTimes. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  25. ^ "Jimmy Cobb, jazz drums". MSU College of Music. Michigan State University. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  26. ^ "NEA Jazz Masters – Jimmy Cobb". Washington: National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  27. ^ "Jimmy Cobb | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved January 7, 2017.

External links[edit]