Wurlitzer’s was a musical instrumental store located in Center City. It was also known as Music City.
During an appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” in 1973, Philly native Bill Cosby recounts buying a drum set and taking lessons at Wurlitzer’s. The erstwhile drummer provides a snapshot of the jazz scene back in the day
Tenor saxophonist Bootsie Barnes grew up in this public housing project whose residents included Lee Morgan and Bill Cosby.
Barnes recalled dancing the bop with others at the community center where jam sessions were held. His “Boppin’ Round the Center” was inspired by his childhood memories.
In his autobiography, Jimmy Heath recalled that erstwhile jazz drummer Bill Cosby was a bartender at the Underground:
I still kept going back to Philly for gigs, and between 1960 and 1964, in addition to the Sahara, the Showboat, the Uptown, and Pep’s, another club I worked in Philly was the Underground, located at Broad and Pine streets. The Underground had a number of rooms and a few different bars. In one room were women dancers, and in another was a comedy act. I was playing in the Underground with Sam Dockery, Mickey Roker, and Buster Williams when I first met Bill Cosby, a Philly native, who was bartending at the Underground and telling jokes at the same time. When we talk about those days, I tell him, “I was big-time and you were behind the bar.”
By the way, Cosby wrote the foreword to Heath’s biography “I Walked With Giants” (Temple University Press, 2010).