Music News 7/30/2020


Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and drummer Jimmy Cobb—two master players whose careers started in the 1940s and continued until the very end—passed away in April and May, respectively.  They both played with the best throughout their careers, both mentored generations of young players, and both were awarded NEA Jazz Master Fellowships (our nation’s highest award in jazz). Jimmy Cobb reunited the first members of his band, Cobb’s Mob, twenty years later, on THE ORIGINAL MOB (Smoke Sessions, $17.98) (2014). They included Brad Mehldau, piano, Peter Bernstein, guitar, and John Webber, bass.  

OLD SONGS, NEW (Sunnyside, $16.98) (2019), finds Mr. Konitz heading a nonet (see Birth of the Cool below), with arrangements by reed player Ohad Talmor. Mr. Konitz and Mr. Cobb played on two of the most influential Miles Davis albums, arguably, two of the most influential records in jazz history. Listen to BIRTH OF THE COOL (Blue Note, $14.98), from 1949, with Lee Konitz in the famous Nonet.  

KIND OF BLUE (Columbia, $9.98), from 1959, is the best-selling jazz album of all time, with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Mr. Cobb. The trio of Kelly, Chambers and Cobb went on to a thriving career as a trio after their stint with Miles. 

Jimmy Cobb’s testimonials (as well as those from the recently deceased Jimmy Heath) are one of the highlights of the documentary, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL (Eagle Rock Entertainment, DVD, $24.98) by Stanley Nelson. There are some fantastic performances clips, and a wealth of insightful testimonials from Wayne Shorter, Quincy Jones, Ron Carter, Marcus Miller, school friends and neighbors, writers Ashley Kahn and Greg Tate.  Especially powerful is Miles’s ex-wife, dancer Frances Taylor (it’s her on the cover of Someday My Prince Will Come). The package comes with a bonus DVD of performances from Montreux Jazz Festival from 1973, 1984 and 1985.

András Goldinger​
Music Buyer