Everybody wanted to be a Cosby Kid. Our version of the water cooler conversations was standing in the lunch line talking about The Cosby Show. But I didn't want to be a Cosby Kid – I wanted to be Claire!
Anyway, it was watching The Cosby Show that stirred my innate affinity for jazz. I just didn't have the capacity to take the tiny bits he shared in his show and find the gateway into the world of jazz at the time. I grew up with the Cosby Kids (I would have been between Rudy and Vanessa in age) – so what I knew of Bill Cosby was Picture Pages and Fat Albert – not the standup comedian and the recordings of Hicky Burr, thus I was oblivious to his contributions to the jazz world and his love for the art of jazz. Now that I'm older and since the internet has been invented (it really bothers me that I can actually remember when email and the internet started), I take advantage of what he shared with us.
There was an episode that introduced me both to Nancy Wilson (played Denise's mother-in-law) and Moody's Mood For Love. The episode with the apples planted the seed that would grow into a great appreciation and love for Coltrane and Ellington's In A Sentimental Mood. I met Joe Williams (played Claire's father) from that show and found out that A Man Ain't Supposed To Cry. And there were a lot of other indirect introductions to artists like Nina Simone – who I swore was the music coach for Vanessa but found out later that was actually Betty Carter. Listening to Lena Horne sing I'm Glad There Is You led me to Sarah Vaughan because I prefer her interpretation. And hearing the constant phrase, "scat like Ella Fitzgerald" drove me towards my forever love of The First Lady of Song.
So I must pay homage to The Cosby Show for setting me on my journey towards filling the void that R&B, Hip-Hop, and Soft Rock left in my musical soul.
Go to 4:00 to hear Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and her father (Joe Williams) sing a song that you cannot buy anywhere!