One night only at the Side Door Jazz Club, Old Lyme CT
After receiving wide acclaim for his inaugural album In the Element (2011), recorded at the age of twenty one, and an equally successful follow up collaboration with trumpeter Brian Lynch, entitled Questioned Answer (2013), Emmet Cohen has embarked on an important new mission: to celebrate the last remaining legendary jazz artists from an era long gone, by documenting, featuring, and preserving their artistry and excellence in the later stages of their careers.
Cohen, who separate from leading the Emmet Cohen Trio, conceived of The Masters Legacy Series, intended to be a multi-album project, the first of which is dedicated to drummer, Jimmy Cobb. Cobb’s most famous work on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (1959), bears no introduction. Fast forward almost 60 years and Cobb is the last surviving member of Davis’ band, residing in Harlem. Cohen, a fellow Harlemite, considers himself fortunate for having met Cobb in a private session while Cobb was teaching at the New School.
“By playing with Mr. Cobb on a regular basis, I absorb something that can’t be gained from practicing my craft, listening to any recording on repeat, or reading any book or historical document. Mr. Cobb deserves to be honored for his excellence and humanity he manifests today, not just for his work from fifty and sixty years ago. He is a living legend of the jazz world and a historical treasure.” — Emmet Cohen
To celebrate Cobb’s ripened mastery of the drums, Cohen carefully curated selections for the album that would feature Cobb’s indomitable swing groove. “When I Fall in Love,” “If This Isn’t Love,” and “Hard Times” are all tunes Cobb played throughout the decades with the likes of Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and Wynton Kelly. Cohen’s own compositions, “Folk Song,” “Mr. Robinson,” written in tribute to Jackie Robinson, and “Concerto for Cobb” expressing genuine affection and respect for Jimmy himself, all display a dynamic sense of exuberance and optimism from deep within.
“What sets Emmet Cohen apart is that he plays with maturity beyond his years, demonstrating technical expertise and sophistication in musical choices. In this recording, Emmet’s own compositions and chosen repertoire display a nuanced appreciation for who Jimmy Cobb is as a drummer and a man.” — Christian McBride
Cohen’s revelation, having pursued a formal music education at both Miami University’s prestigious Frost School and the elite Manhattan School of Music, is that the majority of his fellow young jazz musicians these days are largely concerned with their own technical “chops” or with creating new esoteric or contrived themes for the idiom of jazz. Cohen rebukes these notions and has chosen to focus his current musicianship on harnessing the intergenerational transfer of knowledge between living jazz masters and emerging jazz artists to preserve America’s jazz lineage, historical context, and spirit.
“Miles told him to “play soft and make it feel like it’s floating”. Mr. Cobb uplifts any band he’s playing with by creating a feeling of floating and soaring. He breathes life and motion into every beat with his distinctive swing feel. He brings to life his predecessors- everyone from Baby Dodds to Papa Jo Jones to Philly Joe Jones, and plays with the nuance and intrepidity that influenced those who came after him like Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette. — Emmet Cohen
Emmet Cohen’s Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 featuring Jimmy Cobb was recorded in front of a live studio audience on March 16, 2016 at The DiMenna Center in New York City.
Stream the performance live at http://jazz.org/live