The Jazz.com Blog
April 02, 2008 · 0 comments
Drummer Jimmy Cobb is the last surviving participant from the great Kind of Blue sessions -- the historic Miles Davis LP that is forty-nine years old this month. No jazz record has been more celebrated or more successful. No working band ever had more talent, pound-for-pound. No collection of instrumental jazz compositions has been more beloved by musicians and fans.
So interviewer Ralph Miriello asks the unexpected question. Everybody knows that this record is a jazz classic, but was it fun to make? Kind of Blue sounds like serious business, but were the musicians really in a blue mood? In short, what was it really like to be on this date?
"It was always fun to record with them guys because, you know, look who you got man. Look who you got -- how are you going to make a bad record with them guys? I’m just worried about how I am going hold up with them. I wasn’t worried about them because all of them I knew they were killers, all of them. Then another thing, getting back to Joe [Philly Joe Jones] the music had changed, so I didn’t really have to do what Joe was doing so I could do what I was doing and it fit with what was going on. . . .
"[The session] wasn’t as serious to me as Porgy and Bess … with all them pieces. You know with Gil [Evans] with that twenty-piece band …. That’s serious! This was a like a sextet...in the genre where we usually played [in]. I just think we went in there and made a good record. Guys always ask me, man: “Did you know when you were making that record it was going to be that big?”… I said no. No, none of us knew. If Miles knew, he would have asked for twelve Ferraris."
Cobb concludes: "I just liked being in the best jazz band in the world at the time."
Ah, how many musicians get a chance to make that claim?
Elsewhere in the interview, Cobb discusses the possible rivalry between John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley in this Davis band, the piano work of Bill Evans, and offers up a host of anecdotes, covering everyone from Fidel Castro to Sugar Ray Robinson. To read more, click here.
This blog entry posted by Ted Gioia.