Jimmy Cobb nestles his drums in the perfect space between sensitivity and assertiveness. Tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson joined Cobb’s trio for our live broadcast from the Village Vanguard on Wednesday, August 21 at 8:30 p.m. Review our live chat and preview of the show below.
This NEA Jazz Master builds up a soloist with unwavering intensity that never overpowers. Take, for example, the way he launches one of Davis’s most iconic recordings, “All Blues," from the 1959 Columbia album Kind of Blue.
First, he lays a bed for Davis by playing his snare drum with wire brushes, while Bill Evans plays a rolling chord vamp. Then he shifts for the entrance of Davis’s trumpet solo.
Cobb’s addition of solid hits on his ride cymbal creates a transition which is smooth yet stark, a complete change in mood. It’s subtle. It’s confident. It’s Cobb.
This touch can be heard on many of Davis’s masterpieces, which include Sketches of Spain and Someday My Prince Will Come. But the Kind of Blue session remains a kind of touchstone for Cobb, which he honors with his “So What” touring band.
Javon Jackson is a regular member of Cobb’s “So What” ensemble, and Cobb also plays with Jackson in a group the saxophonist leads, “We Four,” which pays homage to John Coltrane.
Jackson is a graduate of that elite finishing school in jazz, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. They’ll be joined at the Vanguard on Wednesday night by Japanese pianist Tadataka Unno and Italian bassist Paolo Benedettini. WBGO and NPR Music will feature this live concert by the band, broadcast on air and as a video webcast, on Wednesday, August 21st at 8:30 p.m.