A superb, mostly self-taught drummer, Jimmy Cobb has been a dominant accompanist and outstanding soloist. He approaches the drum kit in both a melodic and percussive fashion, never playing overly long or rambling solos. He's known for working slightly ahead of the beat, and has anchored many fine sessions as well as spending five years with Miles Davis in the '50s and '60s. Cobb did study briefly with Jack Dennett, a percussionist with extensive symphonic credentials. He played with Charlie Rouse, Leo Parker, Frank Wess, Billie Holiday, and Pearl Bailey in Washington, D.C.
For all his session work from the '50s onward, Cobb was not particularly known as a leader on his own dates, and rather extraordinarily began developing his own discography in earnest beginning during the late '90s and extending across the first decade of the 2000s, starting (after 1994's Encounter, a duo release with singer Ada Montillanico) with Only for the Pure of Heart by Jimmy Cobb's Mob in 1998. A second Cobb's Mob album, Cobb's Groove, was released by Milestone in 2003. Tribute to Wynton Kelly & Paul Chambers by the Jimmy Cobb Trio was issued by the Japanese Sound Hills label in 2004, followed by two Chesky releases by the Jimmy Cobb Quartet, Cobb’s Corner in 2007 and Jazz in the Key of Blue in 2009. In addition, the Marsalis Music Honors series released a Jimmy Cobb volume in 2006, featuring Cobb on drums along with Ellis Marsalis on piano, Andrew Speight on saxophone, and Orlando Le Fleming on bass. Cobb received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award in October 2008. ~ Ron Wynn