Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Related Material

Administrative Information

Arrangement

Description of Series

Oral History Interviews

Promotional Materials

Personal Documents

Photographs

Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Arnett Cobb Collection MSS.0322



Creator Cobb, Arnett, 1918–1989
Title: Arnett Cobb Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1955-1989
Dates: 1929-1989, 1955-1989
Identification: MSS.0322
Quantity: 4.0 Linear feet, 2 doc. boxes, 1 photo negative box, 2 cassette tapes
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Arnett Cobb (1918-1989) was born in Houston's Fifth Ward. He was exposed to music at an early age; his grandmother taught him to play the piano when he was about 10 or 12 years old. He soon picked up the violin. As the only violinist in an 80-piece brass band at Phyllis Wheatley High School, he switched to saxophone in order to be heard. Known as the "Wild Man of the Tenor Sax," Cobb made his professional debut with Frank Davis in 1933. Cobb played with Chester Boone from 1934-1936, and with Milton Larkin from 1936-1942. In 1942, he replaced Illinois Jacquet in Lionel Hampton's band, where he remained until 1947 when he left to form his own band. Serious injuries resulting from being hit by a car when he was 10 and an automobile accident in 1951 plagued him throughout his career, but they never prevented Arnett Cobb from helping to shape and define what become known as the Texas-tenor sound.

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Historical Note

In Houston in the 1930s, Phyllis Wheatley High School in the Fifth Ward produced many talented musicians from the school’s acclaimed music program. The climate in the Houston community outside the school was also conducive to the development of young musicians. Houston citizens frequently had opportunities to see national acts perform in local venues such as the Puritan Temple, the Houston City Auditorium and Loew’s Theater. This was an inspirational introduction to music for Houston’s young people.

Phyllis Wheatley High School and Jack Yates High School, both in Houston, rivaled each other in sports and band. The rivalry between the two schools encouraged the band students to compete with each other and push their abilities to their full potential. In later years, students from Yates, Wheatley and Washington high schools frequently found themselves playing together in professional bands as adults.

While still enrolled in school, the Phyllis Wheatley Orchestra students would play at all the school functions during the week. On weekends the orchestra would play community venues. Outside the Orchestra, it was not uncommon for seasoned musicians to allow beginners to sit in with them on stage while they performed. This prepared young musicians not only in technique, but also for audience expectations. The older musicians also had no reservations about hiring the young adults to perform in bands. Frequently musicians newly graduated from high school were hired to begin playing professionally.

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Scope and Contents

The material in the Arnett Cobb Collection chronicles Mr. Cobb’s musical career from the 1940s to his death on March 24, 1989. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs both within his occupation and personal. There are many instances of review clippings and promotional materials in the collection. Two oral history interviews of Mr. Cobb were recorded on cassette tapes in 1988. Both the interviews are fully transcribed.

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Arrangement

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

None.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Arnett Cobb Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder. Photographs from the Arnett Cobb Collection may not be reproduced for any purpose.

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Arnett Cobb and His Mobb (Musical group)
Booker T. Washington High School (Houston, Tex.)
Boone, Chester
Brown, Jewel
Cobb, Arnett, 1918–1989
Davis, Frank
El Dorado Club (Houston, Tex.)
Ellington, Lionel, 1899–1974
Hampton, Lionel
Houston Public Library
Jack Yates High School (Houston, Tex.)
Jacquet, Illinois
Larkin, Milton
Majestic Theater (Houston, Tex.)
Milton Larkin Orchestra (Musical group)
Paladium (Houston, Tex.)
Phyllis Wheatley High School (Houston, Tex.)
Puritan Temple (Houston, Tex.)
African Americans--Texas
Jazz musicians--Texas--Houston
Musicians--Texas--Houston
Saxophonists

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Related Material

Arnett Cobb Oral History, HMRC Oral History Collection, April 21, 1988

MSS 345 Jimmy Ford Collection

MSS 252 Milton Larkin Collection

MSS 403 Illinois Jacquet Collection

MSS 442 Herb Brochstein Collection

MSS 390 Campbell Tolbert Collection

MSS 349 I.H. Smalley Collection

MSS 336 Florence "Bu" Pleasant Collection

MSS 338 Jewel Brown Collection

MSS 397 Art Foxall Collection

MSS 388 Ed Gerlach Collection

MSS 441 Nathaniel "Bill" Barnes Collection

MSS 375 David "Fathead" Newman Collection

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Arnett Cobb Collection. MSS 322. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Lizette Cobb and Steve Williams, October 6, 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by: Charles Stephenson and Tammy Jordan, November 13, 2006.

Digitized Materials

A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available through the Houston Area Digital Archives. Please view the digitized material at: http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/cdm/search/searchterm/MSS0322/order/nosort

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 Arrangement 

Materials in the Arnett Cobb Collection are arranged by item type or format. All developed photographs are described at the item level.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Oral History Interviews

Box Folder
1 1 Personal interview transcript, Notes from interview 2/11/1988
2 Personal interview transcript, 2/11/1988, duplicate
3 Personal interview transcript, 4/21/1988

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Promotional Materials

Box Folder
1 4 Newspaper clippings, no dates
5 Periodicals: All That Jazz ’76, signed by Arnett Cobb. Copy available for viewing. Original in donor file. Houston Wave, August, 1986
6 Concert Announcements
7 Press clippings, 1960s to 1980s
8 Newspaper clippings, 1952 to 1989

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Personal Documents

Box Folder
1 9 Items removed from two scrapbooks, 1926 to 1979
Grade 2 report card. Bruce Elementary School. 1926
"Arnett Cobb Day" announcement
Signed photo “frame” from music venue. Copy available for viewing. Original in donor file.
Box Folder
1 10 Obituaries. Order of Service. 1989
11 Photo identification sheets
12 Photocopied Arnett Cobb Collection photographs Please use these for viewing in lieu of originals

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Photographs

Box Number
2 MSS322.001 Duke Ellington front and Lionel Hampton (drummer) behind drum kit
MSS322.002 Arnett Cobb with unidentified group of men
MSS322.003 Bobby and Foster Johnson
MSS322.004 Ben Webster, saxophonist
Publications: Rotary Club
MSS322.005 Dinah Washington, singer
MSS322.006 Arnett Cobb and unidentified saxophonist
MSS322.007 Milton Larkin
MSS322.008 Arnett Cobb, Mrs. Arnett Cobb and Steve Williams; others not identified
MSS322.009 Red Norvo, John Kirby, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong
MSS322.010 Arnett Cobb, Mrs. Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman and man
MSS322.011 Bu Pleasant
MSS322.012 Dinah Washington
MSS322.013 Arnett Cobb and unidentified musicians
MSS322.014 Man, unidentified
MSS322.015 Arnett Cobb and unidentified bass player
MSS322.016 Milton Larkin Orchestra
MSS322.017 Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.018 Arnett Cobb and V. J. Marie in recording studio
MSS322.019 Two saxophonists and a clarinetist, unidentified
MSS322.020 Saxophonist, unidentified
MSS322.021 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.022 Arnett Cobb home in New Jersey
MSS322.023 Arnett Cobb, Mrs. Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.024 Arnett Cobb, Mrs. Arnett Cobb and unidentified couple
MSS322.025 Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.026 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.027 Arnett Cobb and Milton Larkin
MSS322.028 Arnett Cobb and Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.029 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.030 Guitarist and singer, unidentified
MSS322.031 Arnett Cobb and daughter
MSS322.032 Arnett Cobb and Mrs. Arnett Cobb with group of people, not identified, at El Dorado Club, Houston
MSS322.033 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.034 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.035 Milton Larkin
MSS322.036 Milton Larkin Orchestra
MSS322.037 Man, unidentified
MSS322.038 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.039 Arnett Cobb’s grandson
MSS322.040 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.041 Arnett Cobb playing his saxophone
MSS322.042 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.043 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman, at a beach
MSS322.044 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.045 Man, unidentified
MSS322.046 Miniature card advertising Arnett Cobb and His Mobb
MSS322.047 Arnett Cobb: photographic portrait on a postcard
MSS322.048 Arnett Cobb, in saxophone section of Lionel Hampton band, during a Hampton solo
MSS322.049 Arnett Cobb and two unidentified saxophonists at a North Sea Jazz Festival
MSS322.050 Arnett Cobb during a performance in Bordeaux, France
MSS322.051 Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.052 Missing photograph
MSS322.053 Missing photograph
MSS322.054 Jewel Brown and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.055 Bubba Thomas, Mayor Kathy Whitmire and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.056 Arnett Cobb during a press conference for the Texas Jazz Archive
MSS322.057 Mr. and Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.058 Arnett Cobb with unidentified bass player, Bordeaux, France
MSS322.059 Arnett Cobb playing saxophone
MSS322.060 Arnett Cobb and unidentified bass player, Bordeaux, France
MSS322.061 Herbie Fields and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.062 Arnett Cobb and two unidentified men
MSS322.063 Mayor Kathryn Whitmire; David Henington, Director, Houston Public Library; Lizette Cobb, Director of Jazz Heritage Society of Texas; Louis J. Marchiafava, Archivist, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, and jazz notables Jewel Brown and Arnett Cobb at a press conference at Houston Public Library
MSS322.064 Mayor Kathryn Whitmire, Jack Hilman (Stroh’s Beer Co.) and Hayes Jones
MSS322.065 Press conference at Houston Public Library: Mayor Kathryn Whitmire; David M. Henington, Louis J. Marchiafava, Arnett Cobb and Lizette Cobb
MSS322.066 Press conference at Houston Public Library: Sammy Price; David Henington; Mayor Kathryn Whitmire; Lizette Cobb, Louis J. Marchiafava and Jewel Brown
MSS322.067 Missing photograph
MSS322.068 Unidentified woman visiting Arnett Cobb in hospital
MSS322.069 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.070 Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.071 Modern Jazz Quartet: Milt Johnson; __?_ Kay; John Lewis; and __?_ Heath
MSS322.072 Modern Jazz Quartet
MSS322.073 Photocopy of poster advertising Jam Sessions at Bordeaux, France
MSS322.074 Bill Cosby, Arnett Cobb, Steve Williams and three unidentified men and duplicate copy of photograph
MSS322.075 Mrs. Arnett Cobb and two unidentified individuals
MSS322.076 Arnett Cobb during a performance
MSS322.077 Mr. and Mrs. Arnett Cobb
MSS322.078 Signed photographic portrait of Arnett Cobb
MSS322.079 Unidentified trumpeter
MSS322.080 Signed photograph of Arnett Cobb and His Orchestra
MSS322.081 Signed photograph of Arnett Cobb, “The Wild Man of the Tenor Sax,” playing in the aisle of a theater
MSS322.082 Arnett Cobb playing his saxophone
MSS322.082.2 Signed photograph of Arnett Cobb during a performance
MSS322.083 Signed photograph of Arnett Cobb and members of his Mobb performing in theater
MSS322.084 Arnett Cobb and daughter, Lizette
MSS322.085 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.086 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.087 Unidentified women
MSS322.088 Arnett Cobb, his grandson and an unidentified woman
MSS322.089 Arnett Cobb and unidentified people at dining table
MSS322.090 Unidentified woman and Arnett Cobb in hospital bed
MSS322.091 Arnett Cobb in hospital bed
MSS322.092 Lizette Cobb as a child
MSS322.093 Arnett Cobb and his grandson in hospital bed
MSS322.094 Unidentified woman and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.095 Unidentified man
MSS322.096 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.097 Unidentified woman
MSS322.098 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.099 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.100 Lizette Williams, Sean Williams and Arnett Cobb at a beach
MSS322.101 Lizette Williams and unidentified person
MSS322.102 Arnett Cobb in a family photograph
MSS322.103 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.104 Arnett Cobb and unidentified person at a beach
MSS322.105 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.106 Arnett Cobb and family
MSS322.107 Cobb family photographs above fireplace
MSS322.108 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.109 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.110 Arnett Cobb and daughter
MSS322.111 Arnett Cobb with family members at beach
MSS322.112 Arnett Cobb and two women, unidentified
MSS322.113 Group sitting around a nightclub table
MSS322.114 Group of people on a boardwalk
MSS322.115 Group at a beach
MSS322.116 Unidentified group
MSS322.117 Unidentified woman
MSS322.118 Unidentified woman
MSS322.119 Unidentified woman
MSS322.120 Unidentified woman and a dog
MSS322.121 Arnett Cobb and daughter, Lizette Williams
MSS322.122 Lizette Williams
MSS322.123 Four women: Vivian __?_; “Auntie __?_; Nora __?_; and Ruby Faye __?_
MSS322.124 Lizette Williams and an unidentified child
MSS322.125 Lizette Williams
MSS322.126 Signed postcard photographic portrait of Arnett Cobb
MSS322.127 Unidentified person
MSS322.128 Dog
MSS322.129 Two unidentified women
MSS322.130 Arnett Cobb and unidentified couple
MSS322.131 Group photograph, no identification
MSS322.132 Arnett Cobb and unidentified woman
MSS322.133 Two women and a child, no identification
MSS322.134 Lizette and Sean Williams
MSS322.135 Arnett Cobb in group photograph, no identification
MSS322.136 Sean Williams, child
MSS322.137 Unidentified woman in front yard
MSS322.138 Arnett Cobb
MSS322.139 Arnett Cobb and two unidentified saxophonists
MSS322.140 Arnett Cobb during a performance
MSS322.141 Arnett Cobb during a performance
MSS322.142 Three unidentified persons
MSS322.143 Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
MSS322.144 Arnett Cobb performing at the Paladium with Paul Schmidt, pianist, and “Duke” Barker and Daisy Richards, in wheelchair
MSS322.145 Arnett Cobb and Daisy Richards
MSS322.146 Arnett Cobb and Clifton “King Bee” Smith of the Houston Colt 45’s
MSS322.147 Arnett Cobb playing the saxophone, close-up photograph
MSS322.148 Missing photograph: Mr. and Mrs. Arnett Cobb and unidentified persons
MSS322.149 Closeup, Arnett Cobb playing saxophone
MSS322.150 Arnett Cobb, Mrs. Arnett Cobb, Lizette Cobb and Clifton “King Bee” Smith
MSS322.151 Arnett Cobb and family after returning to Houston
MSS322.152 Arnett Cobb and family in automobile
MSS322.153 Paladium Ballroom welcoming Cobb Family back to Houston
MSS322.154 Arnett Cobb, in automobile, and his family
MSS322.155 Trummie Cain
MSS322.156 Arnett Cobb and Daisy Richards
MSS322.157 Daisy Richards and Trummie Cain
MSS322.158 “Duke” Barker; photograph missing
MSS322.159 Don Wilkerson, saxophonist; Paul Schmidt, pianist; Trummie Cain; Arnett Cobb and Daisy Richards
MSS322.160 Mrs. Arnett Cobb in a crowd of people
MSS322.161 Don Wilkerson, saxophone; Paul Schmidt, piano and Arnett Cobb, saxophone
MSS322.162 Arnett Cobb and Paul Schmidt
MSS322.163 Paul Schmidt and Arnett Cobb
MSS322.164 Audience at The Paladium
MSS322.165 Audience at The Paladium
MSS322.166 Arnett Cobb playing saxophone
MSS322.167 Woman, unidentified
MSS322.168 Woman, unidentified
MSS322.169 Lizette Cobb
MSS322.170 Trummie Cain
MSS322.171 Slinger, unidentified
MSS322.172 Arnett Cobb and two unidentified men
MSS322.173 Arnett Cobb and three unidentified men
MSS322.174 Arnett Cobb and two unidentified saxophonists
MSS322.175 Poster announcing Arnett Cobb collection of “jazz albums for public use”
MSS322.176 Group photograph: Arnett Cobb, Trummie Cain, Mrs. Arnett Cobb and unidentified man
Box
3 Negatives

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