Cobb, Junie (actually, Junius C)

views updated

Cobb, Junie (actually, Junius C)

Cobb, Junie (actually, Junius C), early jazz clarinetist, alto and tenor saxophonist, pianist, banjo player, composer; b. Hot Springs, Ark., Dec. 31, 1896; d. Chicago, III, Jan. 1970. He was the brother of the late Jimmy Cobb (trumpet). He had his first piano lessons from his mother at the age of nine. During his teens he worked in small band with Johnny Dunn. He moved to New Orleans to study house building, and there bought his first clarinet. In the late teens, he moved to Chicago, gigged on piano, then formed his own band for residency at the Club Alvadere (1920–21). He worked on clarinet with Everett Robbins and his Jazz Screamers (1921), later played in Mae Brady’s Orch. in Chicago and firmly established himself as a multi- instrumentalist. He was with King Oliver (mainly on banjo) from late 1924 until spring 1925; later rejoined King Oliver from late 1926-spring 1927. During this period, he made several recordings as a leader for the Vocalion label. He was with Jimmie Noone late 1928 to spring 1929, then led his own band in Chicago. He went to Europe in early 1930, played saxophone and fronted the band at Jose Alley’s Royal Box Club in Paris, and returned to Chicago (c. August 1930). He led own band in Chicago during the early 1930s, but disbanded in the depression period and formed a double act with vocalist Annabelle Calhoun; they worked together until c. 1946, then Junie did long residencies as a solo pianist. He retired from full-time music in 1955, but continued to play regularly, usually on piano, sometimes on banjo and clarinet. During the 1960s he played with Jasper Taylor’s Creole Jazz Band (1962), with Walbridge’s Hot Four (on banjo, 1967), and did gigs with drummer Wayne Jones. A prolific composer, his works range from “Once or Twice” to the World War II song “Put the Axe to the Axis.”


Junie C. Cobb and His New Hometown Band (1961). Chicago: The Living Legends (1961).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter