Recognized as a prodigy who began playing at age three, multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation’s most pivotal figures in music. Downbeat observed that his “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship. Instead, the dalliances with rapid-fire notes and recurring chord bundles seem a product of youthful enthusiasm and in-progress maturation.” He has already shared the bandstand with Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, George Coleman, Joshua Redman, Patti Austin, Maceo Parker, Billy Hart, Anat Cohen and others. http://emmetcohen.com/bio/
A musician of rare improvisational genius, George Coleman is recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as one of its Jazz Masters in 2015. The spectrum of George Coleman’s musical career extends from playing blues in the Beale Street clubs of Memphis on one end to blowing modern jazz on the New York stages on the other. His deeply soulful tone continues to provide memorable support to the numerous jazz greats he works with and is woven tightly into the fabric of his own compositions.
Coleman grew up in Memphis alongside jazz musicians such as Booker Little and Harold Mabern. Intrigued by the music of Charlie Parker, Coleman taught himself to play the alto saxophone. In 1952, at the age of 17, he got his first big break with blues guitarist (and NEA National Heritage Fellow) B.B. King, touring and recording with him for several years. Coleman switched to tenor sax when King needed a tenor man in his band (and bought Coleman the instrument). In 1956, Coleman moved to Chicago and joined Walter Perkins’ group MJT+3. In 1958, he attracted the attention of drummer Max Roach and was offered a position in his band, requiring Coleman to relocate to New York City. In 1959, he signed on with trombonist Slide Hampton’s octet, which afforded Coleman opportunities to tour Europe for the first time and develop his composing and arranging skills.
In 1963, Miles Davis came calling, and Coleman was soon part of the groundbreaking quintet that included Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). In addition to the group’s four classic albums, Coleman also played on Hancock’s landmark Blue Note recording, Maiden Voyage. After leaving Davis’ group, from 1964-74 Coleman freelanced as a composer and arranger for various musicians, such as Betty Carter, Chet Baker, Lionel Hampton, Lee Morgan, Elvin Jones, Charles Mingus, and Cedar Walton. He then began to focus on his own groups, working in quartet, quintet, and octet settings, and adding the soprano saxophone to his instrument repertoire. Coleman has played at festivals and in prestigious concert halls and top clubs around the United States and in Europe. He continues to perform, usually with his son George, Jr. on drums.
During the past 30 years, Coleman also has made a name for himself as a jazz educator, holding teaching positions at Mannes College The New School for Music, Long Island University, and New York University, in addition to conducting master classes at universities nationwide. A winner of numerous honors and awards, Coleman has twice been presented the Key to the City of Memphis. In 1997, he received the Jazz Foundation of America’s Life Achievement Award, and in 2012, he was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. A documentary film about Coleman’s musical family (including his son and his wife Gloria, who was a musician and composer as well) is in production and is scheduled to be released in winter 2015.
One of jazz’s definitive accompanists, Jimmy Cobb made his name in support of such giants as Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery and Sarah Vaughan, and on literally hundreds of studio sessions. As the drummer on Davis’ legendary album Kind of Blue, Cobb may be the most frequently heard (if not the best known) drummer in jazz history; and as part of the legendary Davis rhythm section with pianist Wynton Kelly and bassist Paul Chambers, he created a manner of swinging in the modern idiom that remains the gold standard for rhythmic inspiration.
Cobb, was born in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1929. A superb, mostly self-taught musician, Jimmy is the elder statesman of all of the incredible Miles Davis bands. Jimmy’s inspirational work with Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and Co. spanned 1957 until 1963, and included the masterpiece “Kind of Blue”, the most popular jazz recording in history. He also played on “Sketches of Spain”, Someday My Prince will Come”, “Live at Carnegie Hall, “Live at the Blackhawk”, “Porgy and Bess”, and many, many other watermark Miles Davis recordings.
The Miles recordings and live performances are not the only high points of Jimmy’s quiet, but truly outstanding career. Jimmy did his first recording with Earl Bostic. Known from an early age as a great accompanist, Jimmy played extensively with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, before joining Miles in 1957. Tony Williams took over the Miles drum chair in 1963 and Jimmy left Miles to continue to work with Miles’ rhythm section, Winton Kelly and Paul Chambers behind Wes Montgomery. In addition to several Winton Kelly Trio Albums, the three did albums with Kenny Burrell, and J.J. Johnson, among others, before disbanding in the late 60’s. Mr. Cobb then worked with Sarah Vaughn for 9 years. Jimmy then continued to freelance with several great groups throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’s including, Sonny Stitt, Nat Adderly, Ricky Ford, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Fathead Newman, The Great Jazz Trio, Dave Holland and Warren Bernhardt, and many, many others worldwide. (see list on succeeding pages). Eleana Tee produced a Television Special “So that Nobody Else Can Hear”, which aired on AandE in the early 90’s featuring Jimmy playing and hangin’ with Freddie Hubbard, Gregory Hines, Bill Cosby, Dave Leibman, Pee Wee Ellis, and others. Jimmy has played around the world from Newport to Monte Carlo, from LA to Japan. He has performed for President Carter, the Shah of Iran and many other dignitaries in his storied career and is quoted extensively in “Kind of Blue”, the Documentary of those legendary recording sessions.