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Albert Cobine

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Albert Cobine


Albert (Al) Cobine (25 March 1927, Richmond, Ind. – 21 May 2009, Monroe, Ind.) was an American composer, arranger, band leader, and music contractor.

Cobine came to Bloomington in the 1950s to pursue a doctorate in political science, but ended up becoming a widely renowned big-band leader instead. He put together orchestras and arrangements for Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, and many other popular artists. He also directed a Bloomington-based ensemble for decades that backed up many famous entertainers.

Cobine’s own compositions and interpretations of songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael form an important part of the saxophonist’s contribution to the legacy of Indiana jazz. Songs such as October in the Air, like the best of Carmichael’s work, evoke the laidback, lyrical mood of the region.

In addition to his compositional contributions, Cobine is cited by former colleague Dominic Spera and Baker for helping to expose talent from the IU School of Music to the wider professional music world. He took students and faculty on the road with him as he backed Mancini, Mathis, and others.

Cobine was also a major presence in the local community. His bands played at the Little 500 and he wrote for groups such as the Singing Hoosiers and Bells of Indiana. Though he never finished his doctorate, he did serve two terms as a member of the Monroe County Council in the 1990s.

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