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Playboy jazz fest turns 30

The annual jazz fest is all set for its 30th anniverasry bash with Bill Cosby reprising his longtime role as a master of ceremonies.

art and culture Updated: Feb 28, 2008 17:13 IST

The annual Playboy Jazz Festival turns 30 this year with Bill Cosby reprising his longtime role as master of ceremonies at the Hollywood Bowl.

Herbie Hancock, who won album of the year at the Grammys, will be part of a two-day lineup that ranges from Al Jarreau, Poncho Sanchez and Keb' Mo' to Dr John and Dee Dee Bridgewater, among others. The June 14-15 festival will bring back Cosby, who has missed only three turns as host since the first presentation in Los Angeles in 1979.

Cosby said he doesn't know how the festival became an institution, but he's effusive about the experience of what he calls "two days of neighborly, happy people" at a huge, eclectic, listening party.

"Playboy is Hollywood Bowl, 18,000 people and the umbrella under jazz - the umbrella has about whatever the new style (of) music that's popular on the radio, that's quote-unquote close enough for jazz. And then, of course, we have our traditional musicians and blues," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"So it's everything," he added, "but I think it's the sunshine, it's starting 2:30 in the afternoon, moving on to 10:30 at night. It builds as the evening goes on."

Cosby said he particularly enjoys when the crowd becomes "naughty" and forms the festival's famed conga lines. "That always makes me laugh because in the conga line you have this amalgamation, you got people who should be followed with a defibrillator and then there are the younger people who are just having a wild time," he said.