Jimmy Cobb has been drumming for 70 years at the time of this recent release, “The Original Mob” and is best remembered for his participation in the classic Miles Davis album “Kind Of Blue” as well he contributed to 6 others with Miles during that period from the late fifties to the mid sixties. Played on half a dozen John Coltrane albums around the same time, worked with Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Holiday, Wes Montgomery, Nat Adderley and his slightly more famous brother Cannonball. He states on the albums notes that it was through Cannonball Adderley that he was originally introduced to Miles but that all happened over 50 years ago. Today Jimmy at age 86 is playing his drums superbly and he has not lost any touch with age as evidenced upon hearing this new album from Smoke Sessions. If you are wondering, Smoke is a Jazz Club in New York and where the album was recorded. The club was empty at the recording time making the album closer to a studio session with great fresh results emanating from the one day.
Cobb’s Mob is the name of Jimmy’s band and throughout the last twenty years has gone through changes in its line up but with “The Original Mob” as the title implies the line up is precisely that from 20 years prior. Peter Bernstein the guitarist is credited with naming them when he and Brad Mehldau were students in one of Jimmy Cobb’s Jazz classes and it was Peter who brought in the bassist John Webber. Since this time Brad Mehldau’s Jazz career has passed orbit and one only knows where he keeps all his awards for pianist of the year after really hitting the scene when he started to release his “Art Of The Trio” albums back in the later nineties. Peter Bernstein’s career is not far behind Brad’s with Jimmy stating in the notes that he plays with a similarity to Grant Green the famous Blue Note Jazz guitarist. Peter has been leading an organ based trio primarily with Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart since to rave reviews and worked with quite a few current big names in Jazz such as Joshua Redman, organist Melvin Rhyne, Nicholas Payton, Diana Krall, Dr Lonnie Smith, Tom Harrell and even Sonny Rollins. The bassist John Webber is another having played with Johnny Griffiin, George Coleman, Eric Alexander and freelance appearances with Etta James, Horace Silver, Lou Donaldson and a list of many more which one could add to all his past collaborations.
The albums compositions are a quite a nice mix with standards, covers and original numbers from the band with all supplying one each and Jimmy providing two of his own.”Old Devil Moon” starts the album off with John Webber’s bass coming in first being quickly joined by drums and piano. Peter Bernstein’s guitar provides a wonderful solo which is followed by Brad’s turn on piano over this fairly up tempo take. Brad Mehldau is an absolute joy with his piano input and it keeps coming with the following mid tempo George Coleman composition, “Amsterdam after Dark” where Peter Bernstein provides one lovely little groove again right across the top followed by more from Brad. “Sunday In New York” has a great skip for all the band to work around, “Stranger In Paradise” with its quick time and Jimmy’s cracker of a drum solo just keeps the album motoring along quite nicely. The album’s fifth composition “Unrequited” is from Brad with Peter Bernstein’s guitar dropped and Brad plays with that beautiful touch that he has on piano with John Webber’s bass providing a wonderful counter and solo combined with Jimmy’s stick work and drumming. Great stuff. The two Jimmy Cobb compositions follow providing plenty of groove from “Composition 101”with the next, “Remembering U” being the album’s only ballad. The standard “Nobody Else But Me” is next with the Peter Bernstein composition “Minor Blues” following being quite a delight. John Webber’s composition “Lickety Split” with it’s up tempo timing and stellar contributions from Peter Bernstein’s guitar and Jimmy’s drum solo brings the album to a close.
Fabulous Jazz with plenty of good old fashioned Bop. Peter Bernstein and his guitar almost steal the show but with such other wonderful musicians present he did not quite get away with it. Highly recommended new release from a smokin’ new Jazz label, Smoke Sessions Records.