Monday, June 15, 2009

Greetings and Salutations

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! I just wanted to let you know a little more about me and the purpose of this blog-- if you're going to take the time to read it, the very least I can do is to give you a compelling reason why you should keep reading it...

My name is Peter Cobb, and I am a jazz saxophonist living in New York City. I moved up here in the Fall of 2008 to begin a Master's Degree Program at NYU, but simply being a musician on the New York scene is an education in itself. Think of it like this: in every town across the country (and around the world at this point), there is one young musician who can play circles around everybody else. He/she has earned scholarships and accolades, surpassed his/her teachers, and played all of the best gigs in that town. And at some point, each of these remarkable musicians comes to New York to learn from the masters and wade through the deepest talent pool in the world.

Of course, in New York you're going to find a few oddballs here and there, including some former attorneys. Like me. While I grew up in Boston and attended Berklee College of Music in the mid 1990's, I spent much of the past decade in Philadelphia, first attending UPenn Law School and then working as a judicial law clerk (with some occasional freelance work on federal disability-rights cases). I never gave up playing jazz, however, and I was very fortunate to join a band run by master guitarist Steve Giordano. Eventually the opportunity cost of practicing law versus practicing saxophone became too great-- I realized that I couldn't do either profession justice (no pun intended) with divided attention. And I chose jazz...

After a year or so spent gigging and teaching in Philadelphia, New York's gravitational pull became too strong, and I moved here to continue an education I had left off over ten years ago. In some ways I felt a little like Robert Redford's character in "The Natural" (without the stratospheric talent level) when he walks onto the field for the first time as a 30-something year old ballplayer and-- already considered ancient for beginning a baseball career--is greeted by stares of skeptical amusement...ok, maybe not quite that bad but you get the idea. Everywhere I turned I met/heard kids who were yet to begin shaving consistently but who could play every John Coltrane solo from memory. Backwards.

But therein lies the fun. If you can manage to put aside your own ego and self-doubts, you'll find an incredible array of talent and wisdom among your peers. By attending concerts, underground jam sessions, master classes, experimental performances or by simply grabbing a cup of coffee while practicing, my friends and fellow musicians have given me insights into the origins and future directions of this music. I've learned equally from young prodigies to older masters, and discovered that jazz is truly a language to which anyone can contribute. Many of them will devote their lives to this art in relative anonymity, and I hope to make this blog their story as much as mine. To quote jazz trumpet great (and NYU professor) Ralph Alessi, there's gold there...

Thanks again for reading, and I'd love to get your feedback, musical or otherwise!


  1. It's a great story, Peter, thanks for sharing it! I think you should hold onto that title for a future book.


  2. Glad you liked the title, EKM! I still favor "Other People's Refrigerators and Why They Make Me Nervous," but I'm entertaining all options at this point...