About Roy Brooks

There are a number of must-hear musicians in Detroit. Among the must-sees is percussionist, or as he prefers to say "drummist," Roy Brooks.

Brooks was one of many Detroit musicians who brought Motown's earthy intelligence -- to paraphrase a description from Detroit saxophonist Pepper Adams -- to the New York scene in the late '50s. Brooks worked with pianist Horace Silver during Silver's prime Blue Note years. His discography likewise reflects work with Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, and Max Roach's M'Boom percussion ensemble among others.

One goes to a Brooks performance to experience the totality of what he's up to. Videos of jazz history or African-American history may be projected in the background. The sound of a dribbled basketball may become part of the musical foreground. The musical saw is frequently part of his presentations, not to mention mention percussion instruments from the booming African talking drum to the shimmer of a xylophone. Wind-up and battery-operated musical toys may supply a finale.

One goes to a Brooks performance to experience the totality of what he's up to. Videos of jazz history or African-American history may be projected in the background. The sound of a dribbled basketball may become part of the musical foreground. The musical saw is frequently part of his presentations, not to mention mention percussion instruments from the booming African talking drum to the shimmer of a xylophone. Wind-up and battery-operated musical toys may supply a finale.

These clips from Brooks' video collection only hint at his range. Not sure where this goes: Currently available CDs featuring Brooks include Duet in Detroit (Enja), which features Brooks with Geri Allen, Randy Weston, the late Woody Shaw and others; Supreme (Enja), in which Brooks performs with a group led by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins; and M'Boom (Columbia) in which the Max Roach-led percussion ensemble performs two Brooks compositions.


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Swinging Through Time - Listening Room - Roy Brooks - About

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