Arnett Cobb: The Way You Look Tonight
The Way You Look Tonight
Arnett Cobb (tenor sax)
Blue and Sentimental (Prestige)
George Tucker (bass), J.C. Heard (drums).
Composed by Jerome Kern.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 30, 1960
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Arnett Cobb, the "Wild Man of the Tenor Sax," replaced Illinois Jacquet in Lionel Hampton's band in 1942 and helped give Hamp his second big hit on the remake of the vibraphonist's theme song, "Flying Home." Cobb stylistically bridged the gap between swing and rhythm and blues, with the extroverted approach of such "Texas Tenors" as Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Gene Ammons. By the time of the 1960 session that included this track, Cobb had suffered serious physical setbacks – spinal surgery in 1948, and crushed legs caused by a car accident in 1956 – yet his showy, demonstrative musical personality remained largely intact.
Here he essays Jerome Kern's theme with a gruff tone, alternating elongated, breathy notes with punched-out flurries. The piece is arranged as an exchange of short statements between Cobb and pianist Red Garland, except for one lengthier excursion by each. Cobb's full solo raises the dynamic level as he testifies with assertive riff-like phrases and bluesy exhortations, under relaxed control in comparison to his somewhat exaggerated "Wild Man" moniker. As for Garland, his lightly frolicking runs eventually give way to his more somber trademark block chords. Cobb returns to sweet-talk the melody before a gradual fadeout. Kudos as always to audio engineer Rudy Van Gelder.
Reviewer: Scott Albin