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January 08, 2009

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Mike Milner

Jimmy is one of the greatest drummers ever. I absolutely adore his playing. There are some live recordings of the Miles Davis group performing in Europe featuring Jimmy worth looking for, especially the live show in Stockholm from March 22, 1960.
I enjoyed his comments about Wynton Kelly as well. They remind me of the wonderful things Oscar Peterson said about Wynton in his autobiography "A Jazz Odyssey". What many people don't realize about Wynton was how good he was at "compng" behind a soloist. He and Paul played on so many Blue Note dates together, and they were so much better recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.

Jason Crane

My very small Jimmy Cobb story: In 1991 and 1992, I lived in Furukawa, a town of about 60,000 people in northern Japan. Also living in this town was a guy known as The Master who'd been a first-call drummer in Tokyo until he'd fallen ill and decided to move back to Furukawa. He opened a jazz club there and booked every big name who came to Japan because he'd known them all during all his decades in Tokyo.

When I lived in Japan again from '96-98, I went back to Furukawa to visit and stopped in to see The Master. He told me that Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Cobb and Jeremy Steig were in town to play a gig that night. That afternoon, my wife and I were walking down the street and we noticed two other non-Japanese (extremely rare in this small northern town) across the street. I said to Jen, "That looks a lot like Eddie Gomez and Jimmy Cobb." I didn't want to bother them, so we kept walking.

Later that night, I went to the gig. I was the only other English speaker there, so before the show I ended up having dinner with The Master, Eddie, Jimmy, Jeremy and a few Japanese musicians. I translated between the two languages as best I could and had a very enjoyable conversation, very little of which was about music. Mostly we talked about Japanese food and culture. It's one of those memories I like to go back to.

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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). In 2012, JazzWax was named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."
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