Smoke Sessions Records launched earlier this year to promote New York jazz is out with a new album from drummer Jimmy Cobb. If he isn’t a legend, he well ought to be.
Cobb, perhaps best known for his work with Miles Davis, has worked with a roster of greats like Wes Montgomery, Wynton Kelly, Earl Bostic, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley—enough, the list is so long, think of a name and likely it’s on it. The man has been around. He may be in his 80s, but if his new album The Original Mob (recorded in February) is any indication, he hasn’t missed a beat. For this album he has gotten together with the original trio of his New School students who played together around New York some 20 years ago as Cobb’s Mob. They are pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist John Webber, and guitarist Peter Bernstein—three students who have blossomed into stars in their own right.
Unlike earlier albums in the Smoke Session Series which had been recorded live, the Cobb session was recorded at the club as a studio session. The 10-track set has original compositions by each of the quartet, two by Cobb, and one each by the others, balanced by a handful of standards. They open with “Old Devil Moon” and George Coleman’s “Amsterdam After Dark.” “Stranger in Paradise” from the Broadway show Kismet, a classical melody transplant that doesn’t make it onto the jazz stage all that often, gets an up-tempo treatment. “Sunday in New York” and “Nobody Else But Me” round out the standards.
The two Cobb pieces are “Composition 101” and a sweet ballad, “Remembering U.” Berstein sits out on Mehldau’s “Unrequited” which gets a samba beat, while his own “Minor Blues” plays with some interesting rhythms. Webber’s “Lickety Split” lives up to its name, making for a dynamite conclusion to a very fine album.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00JEVMS4W,B00K6ROCT2]