Jimmy Cobb, born Jimmy Wilbur Cobb on January 20, 1929 in Washington, D.C., is an American jazz drummer, best known for his drumming on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
Cobb has worked with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Pearl Bailey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Red Garland, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Billie Holiday, Wes Montgomery, Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson and numerous others.
Cobb’s first recording experience was with Earl Bostic and played extensively with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, and Cannonball Adderly before joining Miles in 1957.
In 1963, Cobb left the Miles Davis band (Tony Williams took over the drum chair) but continued to work with Miles’ rhythm section (Winton Kelly and Paul Chambers), to play behind Wes Montgomery. Cobb, Kelly and Chambers recorded several Winton Kelly Trio Albums, plus recorded with Kenny Burrell, and J.J. Johnson, among others, before disbanding in the late 1960s.
Jimmy went on to work with Sarah Vaughn for 9 years and continued to freelance with several great groups throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90s including Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderly, Ricky Ford, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Fathead Newman, The Great Jazz Trio with Nancy Wilson, Dave Holland, Warren Bernhardt, and numerous others worldwide.
In the early 1990’s, a television special produced by Eleana Tee featured Jimmy playing and hanging with Freddie Hubbard, Gregory Hines, Bill Cosby, Dave Leibman and Pee Wee Ellis, and others. Jimmy has played around the world from Newport to Monte Carlo, from LA to Japan. Cobb has performed for both Presidents Ford, and Carter, the Shah of Iran and many other dignitaries in his storied career. He is also quoted extensively in Kind of Blue, the documentary of those legendary recording sessions as well as writing the forward for the book —Kind of Blue— the making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece in 2000.
In 2002, Jimmy completed a Four Generations of Miles album with guitarist, Mike Stern, Ron Carter (bass), and George Coleman (tenor) for Chesky records. Other releases include his long awaited solo album, “Yesterdays”, produced by Eleana Tee for Rteesan Productions. It features Michael Brecker on tenor, Marion Meadows on soprano, Roy Hargrove, trumpet and flugelhorn, Jon Faddis, trumpet, Eric Lewis, electric piano, Peter Bernstein, guitar, and John Weber on bass. This album was done in Jimmy’s two adopted home towns; recorded and shot in New York, and mixed and edited in Woodstock, NY. It includes a wide variety of arrangements ranging from a unique interpretation of Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze” to ballads “Yesterdays” and blues (All Blues, Faddis, Monk) and standards, “Without a Song” and “Love Walked Right In”. This major musical statement will include several music videos and a complete television documentary.
Cobb has released three additionl albums, produced by Eleana Steinberg Tee and David Chesky; New York Time, Cobb’s Corner and West of 5th.
As of 2011, Cobb leads his own group, the Jimmy Cobb ‘So What’ Band, a tribute to 50 years of Kind of Blue and the music of Miles Davis. He also continues to travel and give masterclasses around the globe.