Saturday, April 16, 2011

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Jimmy Cobb

This week, we train our video spotlight on the veteran drummer Jimmy Cobb, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform on Friday and Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. He'll be playing with saxophonist Javon Jackson, pianist Cedar Walton and bassist Buster Williams in a group billed as the Jazz Collective.

Cobb, who turned 82 in January, has been the subject of renewed public attention the past couple of years as the only surviving participant of the band that recorded Miles Davis' historic album Kind of Blue. For the 50th anniversary of the album's release in 2009, Cobb assembled the So What Band, which included Jackson and Williams as well as trumpeter Wallace Roney, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and pianist Larry Willis, to perform Davis' music.

However, playing with Davis is far from Cobb's only claim to fame. The Washington DC native has performed with many other jazz greats in his 60+ year career, notably John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderly, Wynton Kelly, Stan Getz, and Joe Henderson, plus dozens more. Though Cobb rarely plays anything particularly loud, fast or flashy, he's always been greatly appreciated by fellow musicians and fans alike for for his steady time-keeping, swinging feel and encyclopedic knowledge.

Today's first clip features the So What band in 2009 at the Bridgestone Music Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, performing the first part of "All Blues"; you'll find part two down below. Below that, you can see Cobb, Walton and bassist David Williams doing "Body and Soul" with a brisk Latin feel, recorded in 2005 at the JazzAldia Festival in Spain.

After that, there are two very short videos of Cobb demonstrating his concise and decidedly unfussy style of soloing; an interview with Cobb, which seems to have been recorded last year and runs about 15 minutes long; and a short clip of Cobb and fellow drummer Butch Miles hanging out a drum shop in NYC and talking music.

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