The death of Jimmy Cobb earlier in 2020 at 91 years of age marked the end of a singular era in jazz, as well as the career of one of the tastiest drummers in the field. Beginning in the 1950s, Cobb participated in numerous seminal recordings stretching from Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959), John Coltrane's Giant Steps (Atlantic, 1960), Wes Montgomery's Full House (Riverside, 1962), through to a number of stellar trio sessions with pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers.
This Cobb outing with his working trio of pianist Tadataka Unno and bassist Paolo Benedettini, took place in 2016 at the Rudy van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs NJ and was the final recording to be supervised by Gelder prior to his death later on that summer.
This twelve track recital features a number of Cobb originals and some well known popular compositions, all designed to display the leader's expressive drumming, pumping fresh life into the numbers.
Opening with a Cobb original, "Eleanor," the trio is joined by Roy Hargrove on flugelhorn ( close to one of his final recording sessions) and Javon Jackson on tenor saxophone, each of whom color the composition in their own demonstrative way. This lovely ballad gives the two horn men the opportunity to accentuate the qualities of the individual notes of each phrase in expressive ways. The two other tracks in which Hargrove participates are "JC's AC," an original from pianist Unno, and the well known standard "Willow Weep For Me." The former is a boppish up-tempo swinger with Hargrove in waggish form on muted trumpet. Unno shows his chops with some stellar single note runs that show both speed and complexity. On "Willow" which has a bluesy ballad format, Hargrove is on open trumpet in a coy mode and stays close to the melody.
The title track is another luminous Cobb original. Unno's approach to the composition is supple and sparse, with Cobb offering understated support. The session closes with " Cobb's Belle" a number that he wrote for his two daughters. Both Cobb and bassist Benedettini work in tandem to lay down a solid groove over which Unno delivers some clearly connected block chords. Cobb propels the number along in lively fashion.
Jazz musicians are generally defined by their music, and Jimmy Cobb has left a legacy worth remembering.
Man In The Mirror;
I Just Can't Stop Loving You;
Willow Weep For Me;
I Don't Wanna Be Kissed (By Anyone But You);