Cobi Narita

Cobi Narita has been the beacon of jazz for over four decades in New York City, with a reputation that precedes her throughout the world. Her perseverance and personal commitment to the jazz community and its many musicians continues to be joyful and tireless effort.

In the late 1970s Narita founded Women in Jazz in an effort to expose their talent to the public at large. Saxophonist Carol Sudhalter stated, "What Cobi did was a tremendous pioneering thing: she gave women exposure that they may have never otherwise received." She also found the Universal Jazz Coalition/Jazz Center of New York; now in its 26th year, the organization continues to be a clearinghouse for jazz, offering jazz workshops and seminars as well as black history lectures and films presented by cultural historian Delilah Jackson (founder of the Black Pattie Research Foundation).

Over the years Narita has been a constant star in the jazz community. As bassist Earl May noted, "Cobi is the glue for the jazz family. She holds us all together and she's a guiding light for young musicians." She will be a panelist in April 2002 at The Swedish Jazz Celebration in Stockholm. Regardless of her hectic schedule in jazz, as a mom and grandmother twice over, Narita still has plenty of time for her husband Paul Ash who she married 12 years ago after a 17-year engagement. She noted, "Paul is my silver lining." The legendary Duke Ellington was known to greet his close friends with a kiss on each cheek but he always gave Narita three kisses. Now that's a special lady.

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