Jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, who drove the pulsing beat of some of jazz's most iconic records, including 1959's Kind of Blue, died in his New York home on Sunday at 91. The musician passed away after a lengthy battle with lung cancer, his wife Eleana Tee Cobb shared.
Cobb was the las surviving member of the recognized Miles Davis' First Great Sextet, the all-star band that would unveil one of music's most heralded and enduring albums, Kind of Blue. He would collaborate with Davis on many more definitive albums, including 1959's Porgy and Bess, 1960's Sketches of Spain and 1961's Someday My Prince Will Come. Over his storied 70-year career, Cobb also collaborated with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey and others.
Miles would tell us all little things to do and then have us work off his idea,” Cobb reminisced to Billboard in 2019. “He trusted all of us because he knew we were all good musicians. He didn’t really have to do anything else but say what he wanted done. One time he tried to tell me something about playing the drums with both hands, and I turned to him said, ‘Um, let me play the drums!’ But we were good friends, so I could say things like that to him without worrying about getting fired.”
Cobb is survived by his wife Eleana and their two daughters.
Todd Barkan is reporting the death of jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, best known for his work on the seminal Kind of Blue album. If true, this is a devastating loss—the death of a beloved musician, but also the end of an era, as we lose the last surviving member of a historic ensemble. pic.twitter.com/0dOLFWkYO5— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) May 25, 2020