Playboy festival turns 30, but Cosby still trusts it


Not a bunny in sight Wednesday, but there was Bill Cosby, in a red Temple University T-shirt, getting set to help Darlene Chan proclaim the deets of the 30th anniversary Playboy Jazz Festival, coming to the Hollywood Bowl on June 14-15.

Hugh Hefner was there, to be sure, but batching it. You could count the number of lensable celebrities on one hand, but the army of shooters, filmers and videographers would require many bare feet.

Chan, who shoos laggard acts off the revolving Bowl stage in her role as associate producer of the event, stood at Cosby's side as they reeled off the roster of the jazz stars and ringers on the programs.

Cosby had been sitting next to the biggest star due in June, Herbie Hancock, the pianist who brought jazz the first Grammy in many a year. Next to Hancock was Dee Dee Bridgewater, sans her blond hair, enjoying a spiritual rest before her festival singing duties.

Al Jarreau is among the other singers on the bill, which also includes Eddie Floyd, the soul singer who'll appear with Poncho Sanchez, and Dr. John, who brings his Lower 911 band.

Big bands will include the Diva Jazz Orchestra, 15 women in their festival debut, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove's big band out of New Orleans in its festival bow.

More advanced sounds will come from Ambrose Akinmusire, the Monk Institute Trumpet Competition winner who's in Cosby's friendly pickup group, Cos of Good Music, and the Robert Glasper trio, billed as the best of the newer such groups.

A "cornerstone of the smooth jazz genre" will be R n R: Rick Braun, trumpet, and Richard Elliot, tenor sax.

Stalwart bass player Marcus Miller said that he will host the first Playboy Jazz Cruise next year, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 25 and returning Feb. 1. Stars of the earthbound festival will be blowing even though there are no sails.