Sunday Jazz: First Cosins Jazz Ensemble, ‘For the Cos of Jazz’

First Cosins Jazz Ensemble – For The Cos Of JazzThis album has been making the rounds on jazz .mp3 blogs for quite a few years, but I like it so much I feel compelled to share it myself. It’s called For the Cos of Jazz, and it was recorded by a group called the First Cosins Jazz Ensemble. As far as I can tell the group was a one-off project put together just for this album.

As the name of the group and album might hint, Bill Cosby was a major figure in putting this together — which makes sense, as he was pretty involved in the music world in the ’60s and ’70s in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career. Indeed, Cosby is listed as a musical consultant and co-arranger on the record.

Musically, For the Cos of Jazz is pretty typical of the jazz/funk that was popular in the mid-to-late ’70s. It brings to mind one of my favorite bands from the period, the Crusaders. The arrangements and performances are tight, and range from smooth, lite-funk like “Please the Pleaser” and “Beans and Sauce” to more cookin’ and slappin’ numbers like “Psalm” and “Flat Meat.”

The album was released in 1977 on Capitol Records, but has never seen an official CD or digital release. ‘Tis a shame, as it’s really quite good. The back cover lists saxophonist Rudy Johnson and keyboardist Stu Gardner as featured players, as well as the following personnel:

  • Bass – David Shields
  • Drums – James Gadson, Nate Neblett
  • Guitar – Wah Wah Watson, Ray Parker
  • Keyboards – Larry Farrow
  • Percussion – Allen Estes
  • Producer, Arranged By [Synthesizer] – Stu Gardner
  • Saxophone, Flute – Doug Richardson
  • Trombone – Dick “Slide” Hyde
  • Trumpet – Bobby Finley, Gary Grant

Anyway, I’m a big fan of this album and recommend you check it out.

Please the Pleaser

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Psalm
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Gently But Nasty
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Flat Meat
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Beans and Sauce
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A Plush Moment
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Funky Johnson
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Banana Peel
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I Don’t Know
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Fit-It to the Rhythm
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