Cue the jazz bunnies.
Playboy, the Hollywood adult-entertainment powerhouse founded by ever-swanky Hugh Hefner and longtime producers of the Playboy Jazz Festival, will soon test record-industry waters with its own jazz label, an imprint of Concord Records. Playboy Jazz plans an array of releases, from live compilations to soundtracks.
The label's first release, due May 8, will be Blonde, the soundtrack to an upcoming CBS miniseries based on the life of the first Playboy magazine centerfold, Marilyn Monroe. The disc features guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Ray Brown and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.
In June, the 23rd annual Playboy Jazz Festival will retake its customary residence at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. R&B diva Nancy Wilson, bluesman Keb' Mo', the Afro-Cuban All Stars and Brooklyn trio Medeski Martin & Wood will perform June 16; Soul legend Isaac Hayes, hometown funksters Ozomatli, afrobeat scion Femi Kuti, saxophonist Joe Lovano, bop saxophonist Wayne Shorter and vibist Stefon Harris perform June 17. Comedian Bill Cosby will once again host.
The label also plans to release live compilations culled from previous Playboy Jazz fests.
Playboy has been associated with jazz nearly since its 1953 inception, consistently running profiles and reviews alongside the undressed young women who serve as the magazine's raison d'être. On the first page of Playboy's first issue, Hefner wrote that his magazine's ideal reader would be a man who spent his evenings with "music on the phonograph" after "inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex."
Monroe, of course, was that issue's cover girl.