Cozy Cole
October 17, 1909 - January 29, 1981
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Zoro










Cozy Cole...
born Oct. 17, 1909, East Orange, NJ; d: Jan. 31, 1981, Columbus,

William Randolph "Cozy" Cole was the definitive example of a drummer who directly applied the rudimental approach to jazz, and among the very few whose style evolved and spanned a number of eras. Through it all, listeners could hear virtually all of the 26 rudiments--flam taps, five-stroke rolls, paradiddles and more- applied directly to jazz drumming.

He was a life-long student of the drums as well, studying at Julliard in the mid-1940s, with the New York Philharmonic's Saul Goodman, and opening his own drum school with dear friend Gene Krupa in New York in the mid-1950s. Most of his long career was as a sideman for such leaders as; Willie Bryant, (the suave, Un-Official Mayor of Harlem), Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton and Louis Armstrong. Even before these, Cozy had played with Benny Carter's first (and un-successful) band. That band also had such un-known names as Teddy Wilson (piano); Chu Berry (tenor sax) and a young trombonist named Dickie Wells.

Almost with complete silence, Cozy broke many of the racial barriers in music. He was the first black musician on a network musical staff. CBS radio hired him to work with Raymond Scott in 1943. In 1985, Scott recalled, "Cozy was the most professional musician I've ever worked with."

Cozy played a wildly rhythmic drum solo in the stage show "Carmen Jones" in 1943 saying, "I think I'm the only drummer to have been featured in a big Broadway show with his name on the program."

In 1944, Benny Goodman and Cozy lead a small group at the Onyx Club in New York. His band began to tour and occasionally recorded. In the short times between the touring, Cozy also went off as a soloist to tour Europe along side Jack Teagarden and Earl Hines. In 1953, Gene Krupa and Cozy formed The Krupa And Cole Drum School in New York. "The more you study," Cozy said, "the more you find out you don't know; but the more you study, the closer you come." The school was a great success and remained in operation until Krupa's death in 1973.

The Cozy Cole Combo played the Metropole in New York and recorded a million selling version of "Topsy" in 1958. His group also recorded other notable tunes such as, "Jersey Jump-Off," "Willow Weep For Me," and "Night Wind."

During the 1960's he joined up with his long time friend Jonah Jones. Jones and Cozy played with Stuff Smith and Cab Calloway in the early days and reunited to tour and record. The team remained active throughout the 1970's. In 1978 Cozy was given an honorary degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at Capital University in Columbus. After his retirement, Cozy gained his degree at the same college in lecturer studies. Cozy Cole died at the age of 71 in Columbus January 31, 1981.

"Cozy was like my brother. He was the most wonderful person I ever met. I first met him in 1936. I was new to New York and Cozy, being from New Jersey, showed me all around. In those days Harlem was full of great musicians and I was having a difficult time, because no one knew me. But old Cozy, he saw to it that I was offered jobs. One time Teddy Wilson offered Cozy a gig to record with some new singer. Cozy told Teddy that he would only take the job if Teddy hired me. That was how nice Cozy was. When Cozy and I got down there with Teddy, we met Johnny Hodges and that young singer's name was Billie Holiday. Cozy was one of a kind. There'll never be another Cozy, that is for sure." ---Jonah Jones, 1996.






© David Anfuso














Gottlieb Collection




























© Gerd Jordan








Gottlieb Collection






performed with:

Cab Calloway
Coleman Hawkins
George Wettling
Louis Armstrong
Velma Middletown
Barney Bigard
Jack Teagarden
Earl Hines
Dizzy Gillespie
Billie Holiday
Teddy Wilson
John Kirby
Ben Webster
Milt Hinton
Buster Bailey
Clyde Hart
Chu Berry
Sidney "Big Sid" Catlett
Jonah Jones
Allan Reuss
Johnny Hodges
Lionel Hampton
Roy Eldridge
Benny Carter
Charlie Shavers
Cab Calloway & His Orchestra
Henry Allen & His Orchestra
Count Basie
Bunny Berigan
Don Byas
Billy Butterfield
Chuck Berry
Arlo Guthrie
Jelly Roll Morton
Rex Stewart
Sarah Vaughn
Ben Webster
George Shearing

....and many more































Classic Drum Solos and Drum Battles Vol. 2