As a saxophone player, Cosby was a member of the jazz band that was the precursor to the Funk Brothers, the Motown studio band. As the Joe Hunter Band, Cosby was joined by legendary bassist James Jamerson, drummer Benny Benjamin, baritone sax player Mike Terry, guitarist Larry Veeder and pianist Joe Hunter. The group played in jazz clubs and on recording sessions all over town in the ‘50s.
Cosby went on to co-write and produce some of Wonder’s biggest hits, with Sylvia Moy. The Detroit native graduated from Northern High School and served in the Army during the Korean War, where he met Nat “Cannonball” Adderly in the military band school. They also did several sessions for Berry Gordy Jr., who was then writing songs for Jackie Wilson and others.
When Gordy launched Motown Records in 1959-60, he knew the best players in town, and the Joe Hunter Band slid right into the bandstand at the Hitsville studio at 2648 W. Grand, where they became known as the Funks. Cosby was a multi-faceted employee, continuing on saxophone but also earning his spurs as a writer/producer for the label with Smokey Robinson, the Supremes, the Jackson 5, and most notably, Stevie Wonder.
Cosby died at the age of 73 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI after a lengthy illness.