Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

10

Jimmy Cobb: The Original Mob

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
As the Smoke Sessions list of titles continues to grow, so too do we get to check out some of the country's greatest drummer. The much in-demand Joe Farnsworth has been featured on the label's releases by Harold Mabern and David Hazeltine. Furthermore, one of the most recent titles is a headlining date for the legendary Louis Hayes. Now, comes along a new set that puts the spotlight on renowned drummer Jimmy Cobb, a gentleman that for most of his career worked almost exclusively as a sideman. However, since the late '90s, Cobb has had more than several occasions to step out as a leader with several versions of an ensemble he calls Cobb's Mob.

So the story goes, the original line up of Cobb's Mob mentioned in the title goes back some 20 years when the drummer worked with pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist John Webber, and guitarist Peter Bernstein at The Village Gate. Since each musician is a leader in their own right and quite busy, it's no surprise that the opportunities to work with Cobb have been limited in the ensuing years. That's what makes this album so special.

It should be noted that unlike all the previous releases from Smoke Sessions, this date was not recorded before a live audience. Instead, the tables were removed and things were set up like a studio session. Cobb mentions in the liners that it reminded him of recording in the home of Rudy Van Gelder back in the '50s when the living room served as the studio. The overall sound seems lazar etched, but with a sense of warmth and just the right amount of reverberation to make things sound natural. In fact, Cobb's drums have rarely sounded better.

The repertoire is nicely balanced between choice standards and originals by Cobb, Bernstein, Mehldau, and Webber. There are also some fine solos from Cobb and he trades fours on occasion, sounding particularly musical on "Sunday in New York." It is also a treat to hear Mehldau away from the introverted type of performances that constitute much of his work as a leader. On his original piece, "Unrequited," Bernstein drops out and the pianist delivers a piquant bossa that ever so tastefully integrates bebop lines with classically-inspired runs.

Bernstein finds his own time in the spotlight, sounding particularly fine on "Composition 101," where he delivers the melody in the Blue Note style of Grant Green, then goes on to weave some wonderful lines that span the upper and lower registers of the guitar. The guitarist's own "Minor Blues" is the type of engaging waltz tempo that has become somewhat of his own trademark. It is set off nicely against the rest of the program, which is made up of medium to brisk swingers.

Much has been made lately of the idea that jazz has to somehow eschew key elements of its identity to mature and advance itself. Cobb and crew create the kind of timeless and rewarding jazz that satisfies on so many levels and yet is accessible enough for even the most neophyte listeners. If that isn't advancing the art form, then I don't know what is.

Track Listing: Old Devil Moon; Amsterdam After Dark; Sunday in New York; Stranger in Paradise; Unrequited; Composition 101; Remembering U; Nobody Else But Me; Minor Blues; Lickety Split.

Personnel: Peter Bernstein: guitar; Brad Mehldau: piano; John Webber: bass; Jimmy Cobb: drums.

Title: The Original Mob | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Smoke Sessions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Gratified Never Satisfied" CD/LP/Track Review Gratified Never Satisfied
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Process And Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Fistfight At The Barndance" CD/LP/Track Review Fistfight At The Barndance
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 14, 2017