Bill Cosby Wraps 30 Years as MC at Playboy Jazz Festival
After helming the festival for more than 30 years, Bill Cosby has announced that he will retire as master of ceremonies at the annual Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
The announcement came shortly before Cosby filled the position one last time at this year’s festival, which was held over the weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. Fittingly, many of the most notable moments of this year’s festival centered around Cosby himself.
In addition to emceeing the event, he also conducted his own band, Cos’ of Good Music, which has been in existence in various forms since 1995. Cosby even joined the band at one point, sitting behind the drum set and playing along with fellow drummer Ndugu Chancler. This performance caused the Los Angeles Times to note, “Cosby’s involvement with the festival may sometimes appear to be all in fun, but it was never a joke.
Cosby also appeared on stage with Christian McBride’s big band as they performed a version of Quincy Jones’ them song from “The Bill Cosby Show,” which was Cosby first sitcom. Cosby offered non-verbal yelps and grunts for the theme of the show that ran from 1969 to 1971.
In addition to pure jazz artist, the festival also welcomed acts like Robin Thicke, Ozomatli and Sharon Jones. The lineup of the festival has grown increasingly more eclectic as the years have gone by.
Hugh Hefner held the first Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago in 1959, but the second installment wasn’t held until 1979. Cosby serve as master of ceremonies at that event, and has filled the same capacity for most of the 32 incarnations that followed.
On the official website for the festival, Hugh Hefner is quoted as saying, “I’ve had a lot of things to be proud of in my life. But nothing more, quite frankly, than the jazz festival.”