As of this writing, the Marsalis Music Honors series has just two recordings in its catalog: one of Michael Carvin, and one of Jimmy Cobb. Produced by Branford Marsalis, Marsalis Music Honors Jimmy Cobb was recorded just after Cobb's 75th birthday in 2005. The band included pianist Ellis Marsalis, Australian saxophonist Andrew Speight, and the young bassist Orlando LeFleming. Four of Cobb's tunes appear here, including the lovely ballad "Eleanor (Sister Cobb)," written for his wife; "W.K.," a swinging tribute to his rhythm section partner in the Miles Davis band, the laid-back whispering cymbals and snare on "Composition 101," and the sprightly set closer, "Tune 341." The joint opens with Henry Mancini's "Mr. Lucky," and Cobb goes for a wide open, hard-driving swing. Marsalis and Speight also solo and Speight in particular shines. Another treat is the grooving "Real Time," by the late organist Richard Tee, and the simple yet elegant "Tell Me," by Marsalis, who nods heavily to "I Got Rhythm." Cobb's pace as a leader is breezy, bright, and authoritative, his players are tight, keenly focused on the elements of swing and space, and Cobb displays the dancing style throughout, with the same manner and inventiveness that has made him a jazz legend. The Rodgers & Hart tune "Johnny One Note" is a wonderful oddity here in that it is a trio showcase, and the young bassist LeFleming proves a top-notch listening as well as time-keeper. In all, this is straight-ahead music the way it was meant to be played.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek