martedì 25 ottobre 2011

Intervista a Jimmy Cobb

Sul sito SomethingElse è apparsa una bellissima intervista a Jimmy Cobb, il leggendario batterista celebre per la sua partecipazione a storiche sessions tra le quali Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain e Porgy and Bess di Miles Davis e Bahia e Giant Steps di Coltrane.
Nell'intervista Cobb ricorda alcuni di questi momenti leggendari, dalla sua impulsiva decisione di entrare nella band di Miles Davis ad un intreccio romantico con Dinah Washington - e poi fa un appello appassionato alla generazione più giovane di riscoprire la sua musica.

Ecco un estratto dell'intervista:

Nick DeRiso: Kind of Blue has become the best-selling jazz album of all time, a touchstone moment in music. But that moment — there in the studio with Miles — was actually sort of thrown together. There were almost no rehearsals. How did you get in sync so quickly?
Jimmy Cobb: My mindset was, it was just another Miles Davis date. I had no idea what the concept was. All he told me was the key signatures, the rhythmic patterns — things like that. He figured anything he did would come out alright, because of the personnel. Those guys were all top-notch musicians. He knew we could handle anything he had. He told us what it was, and we proceeded to do it. Everything took about one take. Miles made us stop to redo the blues thing with Wynton (Kelly, who sat in on “Freddie Freeloader,” above), because he didn’t like a chord he played in the turnaround. Other than that, it was all in one take. It all happened in two days, one week and then a couple of weeks later.
DeRiso: You were introduced to the band through Cannonball Adderley, right? How did the two of you meet?
Cobb: I met him when I was working with Dinah Washington’s trio. We were checking into a hotel before a date in Florida, and he was waiting to meet us. He wanted to know what was happening in New York, because he was contemplating leaving. He was talking to me about guys like Sonny Rollins, what the scene was. He was feeling it out, and we got to be friends. A little after that, he put a band together — guys from his hometown down there: Junior Mance, who had been in the Army with him; Curtis Fuller and Sam Jones. They came to New York and found an agent, and they sounded good — but decided they wanted a new drummer. Cannon called me up, and I got the gig to make the record Cannonball’s Sharpshooters. They ended up getting into some trouble for not paying their income taxes, and had to break the band up. Later, after he got the gig with Miles, Miles had Philly Joe (Jones), Paul (Chambers), Red (Garland) and (John) Coltrane. He made it a sextet. At that time, Philly Joe was missing some of the jobs every now and then — and Cannon wanted to keep the job and not have anything funny happen. He needed the money! So, he mentioned me as a fill in, if Philly didn’t show. Miles called me one night at about 6 in the evening and said he wanted me in the band. I said OK. We talked about it, and I asked him: ‘When are you working next?’ ‘Actually, I’m working tonight — in Boston.’ He’s already in Boston! I said, what time does it start? ‘Nine.’ It’s six — and we’re 400 miles apart! How am I going to get to Boston by 9? He said: ‘You want the gig, don’t you?’ So, I got on a shuttle running from New York to Boston. By the time I got there, they were playing already. I think Miles wanted to start on time, because he didn’t want to have trouble with the money. They were playing “’Round Midnight.” I set my drums up while they were playing. When they got to the spot where there’s a little break before the solo, I joined in. I played that with them and I was in the band. No rehearsal, nothing...
DeRiso: Later, you, Chambers and Kelly backed Wes Montgomery. Perhaps the high point was the aptly titled straight-ahead live album Smokin’ at the Half Note. Were you surprised when Wes later took a turn into more pop-influenced styles?
Cobb: He did that because he was talked into it, probably by (producer) Creed Taylor, who told him: ‘You could make some bigger money. You could be more public, playing all of those tunes.’ He didn’t like it. He was doing it because he needed the money. He had about 9 kids, so he figured he had to go for it. While he was still home, he had three gigs! He worked all day and all night — never got any sleep. It made his heart bad. One was construction; I think he worked on a jack hammer. The second one was as a guard for a milk company. And then the third was playing music! That took its toll on his energy and his life....
Continua a leggere l'intervista sul sito originario.

Ecco il video della band di Jimmy Cobb che presenta una strepitosa versione di So What, tratta dal concerto per festeggiare l'anniversario di Kind of Blue, registrato alla Cité de la Musique di Parigi:

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