RIP Jimmy Cobb, Legendary Jazz Drummer: January 20, 1929 – May 24, 2020

Tuscia in Jazz Festival, Ronciglione, 2006, Mulgrew Miller, piano; Buster Williams, bass; and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Legendary jazz drummer, Jimmy Cobb, was born in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1929. A superb, mostly self-taught musician, Jimmy is the elder statesman of all of the incredible Miles Davis bands. Jimmy’s inspirational work with Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and Co. spanned 1957 until 1963, and included the masterpiece “Kind of Blue”, the most popular jazz recording in history. He also played on “Sketches of Spain”, Someday My Prince will Come”, “Live at Carnegie Hall, “Live at the Blackhawk”, “Porgy and Bess”, and many, many other watermark Miles Davis recordings.

The Miles recordings and live performances are not the only high points of Jimmy’s quiet, but truly outstanding career. Jimmy did his first recording with Earl Bostic. Known from an early age as a great accompanist, Jimmy played extensively with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, before joining Miles in 1957. Tony Williams took over the Miles drum chair in 1963 and Jimmy left Miles to continue to work with Miles’ rhythm section, Winton Kelly and Paul Chambers behind Wes Montgomery. In addition to several Winton Kelly Trio Albums, the three did albums with Kenny Burrell, and J.J. Johnson, among others, before disbanding in the late 60’s. Mr. Cobb then worked with Sarah Vaughn for 9 years. Jimmy then continued to freelance with several great groups throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’s including, Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderly, Ricky Ford, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Fathead Newman, The Great Jazz Trio, Dave Holland and Warren Bernhardt, and many, many others worldwide. (see list on succeeding pages). Eleana Tee produced a Television Special “So that Nobody Else Can Hear”, which aired on AandE in the early 90’s featuring Jimmy playing and hangin’ with Freddie Hubbard, Gregory Hines, Bill Cosby, Dave Leibman, Pee Wee Ellis, and others. Jimmy has played around the world from Newport to Monte Carlo, from LA to Japan. He has performed for President Carter, the Shah of Iran and many other dignitaries in his storied career and is quoted extensively in “Kind of Blue”, the Documentary of those legendary recording sessions.

Video Courtesy:
Francesco Piccinini

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