Legendary ‘Kind of Blue’ drummer Jimmy Cobb has died aged 91

He was the last surviving member of Miles Davis' First Great Sextet

Legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, who famously worked with Miles Davis, has died at the age of 91.

Cobb died on Saturday (May 23) in Manhattan after a lengthy battle with lung cancer, his wife Eleana Tee Cobb confirmed to NPR.

He was the last surviving member of Davis’ First Great Sextet which included an array of celebrated musicians including saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, bassist Paul Chambers, pianist Bill Evans, and Cobb and Davis.

In their time together, the sextet recorded Davis’ 1959 album ‘Kind of Blue’, which is widely considered to be one of the most influential jazz records of all time. It is also thought to be the best selling jazz record of all time, having sold five million copies.

He previously told Billboard of their work: “Miles always wanted to be different. “He was always looking for somewhere else to go. He always wanted to move forward, and never looked back on stuff. Kind of Blue was another step towards his goal, that’s all really.”
Cobb, who was born in Washington DC in 1929, began his career on tour with saxophonist Earl Bostic, before joining the vocalist Dinah Washington, pianist Wynton Kelly, and saxophonist Cannonball Adderley.

During a career spanning over 70 years, he also also worked with the likes of Billie Holliday, Dinah Washington and Pearl Bailey.

Paying tribute, his wife Eleana told the New York Daily News: “He was a very special and unusual person – a gifted musician with natural talent, like an athlete. And a gifted human being with a great, happy personality.

“He played all around the world. He was vibrant up until the end. “It’s a big deal that he’s gone. It’s very painful. I’m a little bit in shock.”

Cobb’s last solo album came in 2019’s ‘This I Dig of You’. He is survived by his wife and his two daughters.

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