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Past Events

Harlem Speaks
Jimmy Cobb, Drummer
May 29, 2008

Jimmy Cobb is largely self-taught, though he studied briefly with Jack Dennett, a percussionist in the National Symphony Orchestra. He played engagements with Charlie Rouse, Leo Parker, Frank Wess, Billie Holiday, and Pearl Bailey in Washington. After leaving the city in 1950 he played with Earl Bostic (with whom he made his first recordings), Dinah Washington (for three and a half years), Cannonball Adderley, Stan Getz, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1958 he replaced Philly Joe Jones in Miles Davis’ group, with which he remained until 1963, and is the only living member of the famous Miles Davis Quintet that recorded the timeless /Kind of Blue/. He then joined Paul Chambers in the Wynton Kelly Trio, which toured and recorded both on its own and with Wes Montgomery and J. J. Johnson.

He accompanied Sarah Vaughan through the 1970s and later played with Rich Cole, Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderley, and Ricky Ford. Most recently he was heard in pianist Cedar Walton’s group at the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC. Cobb's style of drumming is in the classic hard-bop tradition of Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, and Art Blakey. As an accompanist he plays forcefully, aggressively, and slightly ahead of the beat; as a soloist he uses the entire drum set in a quasi-melodic fashion.

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