Jimmy earned his place in jazz history by providing the percussive power that propelled the rhythm section of trumpeter Miles Davis’s legendary bands with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley from 1958 to 1963.
Today he’s adding to his legacy as the leader of the dynamic quartet Cobb’s Mob whose recording debut on Milestone Records, Cobb’s Groove (2003), features saxophonist Eric Alexander as a guest.
Born in Washington, DC, in 1929, Jimmy performed there with Charlie Rouse, Leo Parker, Frank Wess, Billie Holiday and Pearl Bailey before joining the band of saxophonist Earl Bostic with whom he first recorded.
He then played with Dinah Washington for over three years, before working with Adderley, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie. After replacing Philly Joe Jones in Miles’s band he participated in several seminal recordings including the masterpiece Kind Of Blue. When he and bassist Paul Chambers left the trumpeter they formed a trio with another former Davis sideman, pianist Wynton Kelly, that played and recorded with Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and J.J. Johnson. Jimmy played on the soundtrack to the film Seven Days In May, and worked with David Amram before performing with vocalist Sarah Vaughan through the ’70s.
Associations with saxophonists Richie Cole, Sonny Stitt and Ricky Ford, trumpeter Nat Adderley and as a member of the Joe Albany trio carried him through the 1980s. Cobb’s Mob is a by-product of Jimmy’s work on the jazz faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York where he first heard guitarist Peter Bernstein who was a student there.
Peter introduced Jimmy to bassist John Webber and they began gigging around Manhattan with pianist Brad Mehldau, an association documented on Peter’s 1992 debut as a leader on Criss Cross, Somethin’s Burnin’. Eventually pianist Richard Wyands, an old friend Jimmy met on the early-Fifties San Francisco scene while he was performing there with Washington, joined Cobb’s Mob, which made its recording debut in 1998 on Only For The Pure of Heart (Lightyear).