Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Cozy Cole - Cozy Cole Hits / It's A Cozy Worlddotdotdotdot
artworkNo surf here, just one of the great unsung heroes of the stix! Unlike all of the other reissues and comps, this CD uses the stereo album mixes, though it may be from vinyl sources and is an apparent bootleg.

Cozy Cole's background was in the big jazz bands, working with Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, and Louis Armstrong, among others. Cole's name recognition came with his 1958 recording of "Topsy II" with Alan Hartwell's big band. Cole was an extraordinarily vivacious stick man with a real sense of creativity with his kit. Few drummers can hold attention for very long with a solo, but Cozy Cole surely did. The rest of the band's fluid lineup included a few names that you will recognize, including keyboardist Dick Hyman (later Moog hero - "The Minotaur," Al Caiola, and saxophonist Art 'Pepper' Adams.
Picks: Topsy I, Bad, Turvy I, Afro-Caravan, Topsy-Turvy I, Topsy II, Charleston, Turvy II, Late and Lazy, Topsy-Turvy II, Crescendo, Topsy I, Topsy II, North Beach, Let There Be Drums, Ol' Man Mose, Sing! Sing! Sing! (With A Swing), Big Noise From Winnetka (Part I), Big Noise From Winnetka (Part II), Christopher Columbus, A Cozy Beat, Rockin' Drummer, Indian Love Call (Part I), Indian Love Call (Part II)

Track by Track Review


Topsy I dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Similar to the hit part 2, "Topsy 1" is softer and more sensual, with more organ fills and lower energy. That's not to say it's not powerful and driven. There are more of those great drum fills from Cozy Cole and lots of cool keys from Dick Hyman. It's also one of the great (if very late in the game) big band tracks.

Bad dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Tribal drums and sexy sax drive this stripper's runway bump and grind special. Cheesy and sleazy to the max, "Bad" is fun and scintillating.

Turvy I dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

"Turvy I" was an attempt to follow on the success of "Topsy II." More of the great drums, but the melody and orchestration is just not has excruciatingly hot. Quite cool, but less electrifying.

Afro-Caravan dotdotdotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Incredibly cool drums underpin this exotic arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Caravan." The guitar chords run softly below, and the horns come in like a belly dancer out for your soul. This is a really interesting and very different arrangement. The clarinet is kinda cheesy, but otherwise, this is quite a track.

Topsy-Turvy I dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Now, this is the ultimate in follow up titles, melding both "Topsy I" and "Turvy I." It ends up being more of a jammy groove than an interesting song, at least until Cozy Cole comes pounding in.

Topsy II dotdotdotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

The title is in reference to Uncle Tom's Cabin. There just aren't many better drum solo tracks than this 1958 single. The basic track is a very powerful big band thing, like "Sing Sing Sing" in terms of it's infectious melody and power. Cozy Cole's drums are incredibly great, incorporating light work, tribal beats, and big band power snare work. This is a singular track of unparalleled energy and soul.

Charleston dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

This is a twenties oriented tribal drum epic with an incredibly cool beat. The song itself almost doesn't matter with Cozy Cole's astounding drums here!

Turvy II dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

The very cool Dick Hyman piano lines that open "Turvy Part II" are all that really grabs me here. The rest is relatively pedestrian big band, though again there are some stellar drum licks from Cozy Cole.

Late and Lazy dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

This has a softened "Manhattan Spiritual" feel to it. It writhes slowly with a sensual sound and pulsing bass line. "Late and Lazy" is definitely an easy mover with sex on its mind.

Topsy-Turvy II dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Great cymbals and a saucy groove ensue, but again it's Cozy Cole insane drum licks, this time directly borrowed from "Topsy II" that keep it afloat. I think it's actually the same drum track edited in, because it not only is lick for lick, it is also of quite a different aural character than the drums in the rest of the track.

Crescendo dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

That great "Topsy II" drum beat drives "Crescendo" right along. The song is just so-so big band fare, but the drums rule!

Topsy I dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Similar to the hit part 2, "Topsy 1" is softer and more sensual, with more organ fills and lower energy. That's not to say it's not powerful and driven. There are more of those great drum fills from Cozy Cole and lots of cool keys from Dick Hyman. It's also one of the great (if very late in the game) big band tracks.

Topsy II dotdotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

This is a re-recorded version that was issued on Coral (I think). It's a more modern stereo mix, and the arrangement is true to the hit. While less primal, Cozy Cole's drums are simply amazing! Great stuff!

North Beach dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

A kind of hokey faux Italian oom-pa beat and French sidewalk cafe feel, along with a flapper rhythm, somehow generate a really fun track.

Let There Be Drums dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

the Sandy Nelson / Richard Podolor song gets a great drum treatment from Cozy Cole. The second guitar is dry-chop rhythmed for a strange almost annoying clap effect. I don't know who the lead guitarist is, but it's more like Jerry McGhee than Richard Podolor. Kinda like going through the motions in some ways.

Ol' Man Mose dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Cole's deep bass voice narrates the tale of "Ol' Man Mose" over a walking progression that's kinda cool. The chorus is cheesy, but there's a quirky attractiveness to this gimmicky track.

Sing! Sing! Sing! (With A Swing) dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Luis Prima's most familiar composition is all about the drums when Cozy Cole sits in the main chair. The orchestration is quite secondary, yet it's fun and bouncy. Great drums!

Big Noise From Winnetka (Part I) dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Part 1 of Bob Crosby's "Big Noise From Winnetka (Part I)" gets the "Topsy" treatment, with a whistlin' melody line and lots of great drums and rhythm.

Big Noise From Winnetka (Part II) dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Part 2 of Bob Crosby's "Big Noise From Winnetka (Part I)" continues down the "Topsy" path, with a slightly more forties arrangement via wailin' clarinet.

Christopher Columbus dotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

A mid tempo treatment of this pop classic is just so-so 'cuz of the chorus and cheesy orchestration, yet Cozy Cole's drums make it worth a spin.

A Cozy Beat dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

With instrumentation that leans on Jimmy Smith, "A Cozy Beat" is a Memphis soul jam with simple yet attractive drumming from the master.

Rockin' Drummer dot
Drum (Instrumental)

Cruddy chorus masks the stickman's prowess. This is quite dreadful, like the Ventures' "Lolita Ya Ya."

Indian Love Call (Part I) dotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

This often orchestrated song is just so-so here. If not for the drums, it would be completely dismissible.

Indian Love Call (Part II) dotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

Part 2 is a little more interesting than part one, with a more rock 'n' roll orientation.