Jimmy Cobb! Rest In Peace …still cannot believe that in 1994, Jimmy, Vincent Herring, and I crammed into my lime green Datsun Coupe to drive to a rehearsal we had in my St Kilda living room! We recorded my first album “EXIT”. Jimmy and Vincent were in Australia to play with Nat Adderly and Vincent asked Jimmy to make the record date with some thanks to Martin Jackson. I picked Jimmy and Vincent up from their hotel and, while we were driving to the rehearsal, Vincent’s words were “this car is a death trap!”… Jimmy just smiled and was composed and very cool…oh man it was surreal… Jimmy was so kind and amazing and played SO great on the album. So generous and a swing that will make you hurt yaself! One of the most swinging-est drummers in all of history. Period. Jimmy Cobb!
The pianist with Nat, Rob Bargad was also at the recording session and afterward wrote me a very long detailed letter from New York about my album and talked about each song with care. Rob is the nicest person you can ever meet as well. Al Browne came to the studio just to listen and sit near Jimmy and was in heaven with his eyes closed and his legs crossed, silent and in awe of Jimmy. Pictured here are Philip Rex, David Rex, Jimmy Cobb, Vincent Herring, and I at the session which was held at Allan Eaton Studios in St Kilda. I remember trying to explain to Jimmy the feel I wanted for this tune I had called “Freak Of the Week ” and he said, “it sounds like you want a Cha Cha man”…and laughed. I was so green. It’s still amazing to me that I got to record with Jimmy. Thanks for that Vince! and thanks to all the players on EXIT
I did actually bump into Jimmy Cobb a number of times when I lived in New York and he always remembered me and would take the time to chat. He also always asked me how Ian Chaplin was. He knew Ian because, Ian sat in with Nat Adderly and was playing his ass off.
I used to go hear Jimmy at the Village Gate at this afternoon trio session John Webber on Bass & Brad Mehldau when Brad was playing a lot of Wynton Kelly. Brad was waaay into Wynton Kelly at that time, sounded just like him and so imagine then he’s playing with Wynton’s actual drummer! Man those sessions were FIRE! I had my jaw on the floor every week. It was packed to the rafters and people were just screaming out and dancing. It was one of those wild events that sometimes happen in culture when big futures are being born. You can feel it and people gather to experience it… That was some of the most high octane improvisation and swing that I have ever heard – it was so inspiring and moving. I left every week in a daze to skulk back to the shed.
Jimmy Cobb was so elegant and graceful as a human being. He was pure poise and charm and the way he was is also heard so well in the magic of his drumming. Jimmy Cobb. The greatest.