Call Cobbs Jr. (also billed as Call Cobbs) (1910 or 1911 – September 21, 1971) was an American jazz pianist, electric harpsichordist, and organist. He is remembered for his work with saxophonist Albert Ayler in the mid- and late 1960s.
Although Cobbs was a veteran musician, Cobbs’s recorded output is fairly small.
In his youth, Cobbs served as companion and guide to the pianist Art Tatum and later accompanied Billie Holiday and replaced Hamp Hawes in the band of Wardell Gray. Cobbs also worked and recorded with the alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges in 1954, when Hodges’ band included John Coltrane. He studied the Schillinger System of musical composition.
He worked most notably with the free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler from 1964 through 1970, playing piano, rocksichord, and electronic organ in live performances and recordings. He also acted as Ayler’s copyist and musical director. When Ayler’s body was found floating in the East River in New York City on November 25, 1970, Cobbs was called upon to identify the body. (Ayler’s parents also came from Cleveland to identify the body.)
Cobbs was killed by a hit and run driver on September 21, 1971. He died at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, New York. He was 60 years old.
With Albert Ayler
With John Coltrane
With Johnny Hodges
With Jack McVea
With Jimmy Rushing