Drummer. James Wilbur Cobb born January 20, 1929 in Washington, D.C.; died May 24, 2020 in New York City.
Cobb attended Armstrong High School and briefly studied percussion with Jack Dennett of the National Symphony Orchestra. He played locally with Charlie Rouse at Republic Gardens and with Buck Hill and Ellsworth Gibson. In the late 1940s he worked for two weeks with Billie Holiday at the Blue Mirror and with Pearl Bailey at the Club 2011, then traveled to New York City and joined the band of Earl Bostic (1950-1951). Cobb was a member of Dinah Washington’s trio (1952-1955) and was also romantically linked with her.
After working in Cannonball Adderley’s quintet in 1956-1957 and with Dizzy Gillespie in 1958, he joined Adderley in Miles Davis’s sextet in 1958. He participated in the sessions for the album Kind of Blue in 1959 and toured the U.S. and Europe with Davis into 1963. The reconstituted Davis rhythm section worked under the leadership of pianist Wynton Kelly for the remainder of the 1960s, until the death of bassist Paul Chambers in 1969.
From 1970 to 1978, Cobb was a member of Sarah Vaughan’s trio, and in the 1980s and 1990s, he worked regularly with Nat Adderley and others, including John Hicks, as well as being a member of the Great Jazz Trio with Hank Jones and Eddie Gomez. He led his own group, Jimmy Cobb’s Mob beginning in the 1990s.
He was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2009.