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Drummer Billie (Billye?) Brooks


JSngry
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Somebody played me a 1965 cut of "Bye Bye Blackbird" by some singer named Nuria Feliu that had Booker Ervin on it. She's singing in some language that I don't understand and can't readily figure out. I guess it's nice enough while the chick's singing, pretty "lightly and politely", if you get my drift. but when Booker comes in and starts to moan and holler, this Billie/Billye Brooks guy just starts sticking his foot up everybody's ass and SWINGS LIKE A BEE-AHTCH.

Good God Almighty!

So who is this m-fer anyway?

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Billy Brooks was a pretty visible drummer in Europe in the sixties. He is shining on drums on one of Nathan Davis MPS album 'Happy Girl' that was reissued on a Nathan Davis MPS CD 'Two Originals' that reunites 'Happy Girl' and 'The Hip Walk' (this one had Kenny Clarke on drums. Excellent reissue of the two MPS that also featured Woody Shaw and Larry Young on piano on 'Happy Girl' and Carmell Jones on 'Hip Walk'.

Billy Brooks was also the drummer of some of the Paris Reunion Band concert dates.

He also had a very rare MPS album under his name 'El Babaku' that was recorded in Germany in 1971. Wish MPS would reissue that one!

Never heard that Nuria Feliu album that came out on a Spanish label Edigna. That date had also Tete Montoliu on piano in addition to Booker Ervin and Billy Brooks.

Another one that should be reissued.

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Nuria Feliu seems to be a Catalonian name, so go figure .....

That Billy Brooks was an absolutely amazing drummer, I once saw him in a club in a combo co-led by Sal Nistico and Benny Bailey, with Joe Haider and Isla Eckinger rounding out the ryhthm section. Every nuance of his playing showed in his facial expression, he breathed and lived his drums, every tiny bit of 'em!

He was a pretty prominent figure on the European scene in the 1970's, especially in German speaking countries, but I'm afraid all of the records I have are OOP:

Fritz Pauer Trio - Waterplants - EGO 4007

Pauer p, Isla Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1977

Vince Benedetti - The Dwellers On The High Plateau - EGO 4005

Andy Scherrer ts & ss, Benedetti p, Eric Peter b, Brooks dr, 1977

East of Isar (no leader) - EGO 4010

Sal Nistico ts, Benny Bailey tp, Joe Haider p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1978

Slide Hampton / Joe Haider Big Band - Give Me A Double - MPS 29 22311-6

Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Ack Van Rooyen tp, flgh

Bobby Burgess, Slide Hampton, Eric Van Lier tb, b-tb, tuba

Ferdinand Povel, Andy Scherrer, Dexter Gordon saxes

Haider p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1974

Miriam Klein - Ladylike - MPS 21-21886-6

Klein voc, Oscar Klein g, Roy Eldridge tp, Dexter Gordon ts, Slide Hampton tb, Benedetti p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1973

(this singer does an amazingly close Billie Holiday imitation - the US boys on the session had nothing but praise for her)

El Babaku - Live At The Jazz Galerie Berlin - MPS 21 20894-1

Brooks dr, voc, fl, Carlos Santa Cruz, Donald Coleman, Charles Campbell congas, perc, voc, Burt Thompson b, 1971

Brooks' percussion band with some African and Afro-Cuban inflections.

EGO was Joe Haider's own label. As soon as I have the technological facilities to do so, I guess I will have to transfer some of these to CD ....

Last thing I heard of him was a teching job in Switzerlnad in the 1980's or 90's.

Never understood why he didn't make it large-scale - he could scare the shit out of 90% of the drummers I have seen!

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Some research tells me he still is teaching at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has eductaed a host of young jazz drummers.

That school was founded by Joe Haider, and he re-released several of his old recordings with Brooks on the school's label, JHM, including the Hampton/Haider Big Band double CD!!!!! Highly recommended!!!!

link - there is an English version, too.

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Miriam Klein - Ladylike - MPS 21-21886-6

Klein voc, Oscar Klein g, Roy Eldridge tp, Dexter Gordon ts, Slide Hampton tb, Benedetti p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1973

(this singer does an amazingly close Billie Holiday imitation - the US boys on the session had nothing but praise for her)

Mike, I'm spinning that vinyl right now! Great blowing (and drumming) all around. Had not played this in a long time and it took your post to remind me of that session.

But the charm of Miriam Klein's voice wears thin. Billie Holiday tributes by female singers are usually a pain for fans of Lady Day. The comparison is a joy killer.

Wish they had led Roy, Slide, Dexter and the others do their thing sans vocal!

Good to hear that Billy Brooks is still going at it!

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But the charm of Miriam Klein's voice wears thin. Billie Holiday tributes by female singers are usually a pain for fans of Lady Day. The comparison is a joy killer.

Wish they had led Roy, Slide, Dexter and the others do their thing sans vocal!

I'm with you here! She failed to develop her own style, I have another LP of her with Sir Roland Hanna which is nice, but she's not a top class jazz singer. Not a trace of her anymore on the scene here ...

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Billy Brooks was a pretty visible drummer in Europe in the sixties. He is shining on drums on one of Nathan Davis MPS album 'Happy Girl' that was reissued on a Nathan Davis MPS CD 'Two Originals' that reunites 'Happy Girl' and 'The Hip Walk' (this one had Kenny Clarke on drums. Excellent reissue of the two MPS that also featured Woody Shaw and Larry Young on piano on 'Happy Girl' and Carmell Jones on 'Hip Walk'.

Ok, I have a copy (as in COPY) of that one. No personnel or anything. But ok, he's cooking there too.

Is Mr. Brooks an expatriated American or a native European?

If it's the former, does anybody have any details as to what he die in the states before moving and for how long?

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East of Isar (no leader) - EGO 4010

Sal Nistico ts, Benny Bailey tp, Joe Haider p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1978

Slide Hampton / Joe Haider Big Band - Give Me A Double - MPS 29 22311-6

Bailey, Idrees Sulieman, Ack Van Rooyen tp, flgh

Bobby Burgess, Slide Hampton, Eric Van Lier tb, b-tb, tuba

Ferdinand Povel, Andy Scherrer, Dexter Gordon saxes

Haider p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1974

Miriam Klein - Ladylike - MPS 21-21886-6

Klein voc, Oscar Klein g, Roy Eldridge tp, Dexter Gordon ts, Slide Hampton tb, Benedetti p, Eckinger b, Brooks dr, 1973

As soon as I have the technological facilities to do so, I guess I will have to transfer some of these to CD ....

As soon as you do, please let me know! ;)

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This is the guy who I proposed as the drummer in that Weather Report story on another thread.

BTW, a different Billy Brooks was a trumpeter (in the Lionel Hampton band c. 1954 among other things). His real name was Julius. No family connection, I think, although both worked with Slide Hampton. Lord discography confuses the two.

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/02/0...therobit01.html

Mike

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Here's the entry from Bruyninckx:

BILLY BROOKS

-Windows of the mind- : Bob Comden, Mike Artega, Al Gottlieb (tp) Michael J. Conlon (cnt) Billy Brooks (skoonum hrn,electronics) Britt B. Woodman, Mihran Vartan, Al Hall Jr., Ray Jackson, Buster Cooper (tb) Ken Sawhill (b-tb) Lonnie Shetter (as,fl) John Steven, Tom R. Vigil (as) Herman Riley, Tom Vigil, Wilbur Brown, Clifford Solomon (ts) Bill Carter (bar) Jeff Lee, Calvin Keyes (g) Larry Gales (b) Clarence Johnston (d) Benny Powell (tb) replaces Woodman on (1)

Los Angeles, 1974

Rockin Julius Crossover CR9003

Cooling it -

The jagged edge -

The speech maker -

Black flag -

Good news blues -

Shetter cheeze -

C.P. time (1) -

Fourty days -

http://www.vinyl.com/product_id/LPCROS9003

Apparently Forty Days was sampled and used in some rap things.

Mike

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That school was founded by Joe Haider

the school was founded by Heinz Bigler.....Joe was one of the first teachers on the school...i know him pretty good (we eat dinner together a few years ago....he's a nice guy and impressive pianist!) :excited:

hmm.... I stand corrected.

I remember an interview with Haider when he retired from that school a few years ago, where it sounded like he was the founder ..... they played together in that "Four For Jazz" quartet.

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Is Mr. Brooks an expatriated American or a native European?

If it's the former, does anybody have any details as to what he die in the states before moving and for how long?

The only hint in the liner notes of the LPs I have says he hails from New Jersey. Must have been in Europe since the mid-1960's - IIRC he belonged to that group of musicians that moved to Europe with Woody Shaw, Nathan Davis, etc. that recorded that MPS date.

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..... does anybody have any details as to what he did in the states before moving and for how long?

He was on Eddie Harris' 1964 Columbia LP "Cool Sax From Hollywood to Broadway".

There is one track of Eddie Davis with Cedar Walton, Kenny Burrell, Bob Cranshaw and Brooks from the same year on a Columbia sampler.

These are the only pre-European recordings I could find.

Edited by mikeweil
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My own intro to Brooks -- a damn fine one -- was on Paris Reunion Band, "French Cooking," Gazell GJCD-1002. With Nathan Davis, Johnny Griffin, Woody Shaw, Dizzy Reece, Slide Hampton, Kenny Drew and Jimmy Woode. July 3, 1985.

The notes by Mike Hennessey say this: "Drummer BILLY BROOKS is perhaps the least widely known of the musicians on this album -- and that is a clear injustice because he is a brilliant, subtle player with a highly individualistic approach to the drums. Billy, who comes from Newark, New Jersey and now lives in Berne, Switzerland, came to Paris in 1964 to work with Nathan Davis, Woody Shaw and Larry Young at the Chat Qui Peche. He also played at the Blue Note, the Cameleon and the Club St Germain. In 1967 he moved to Spain and, after a period in Germany, settled in Berne in 1972 and became a teacher at the Berne Jazz School."

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the first "four for jazz" drummer was Peter Giger....got a CD "best of FOUR FOR JAZZ with Benny Bailey (trumpet)".....its a great record! Joe tells me a funny story where he came with a Hohner Clavinet into a rehersal ...in 1967......and he also plugs some fx-devices between his old wurlitzer piano and the amplifier.....that was completly new for a jazz group....the audience was shocked several times....guess he had a lot of fun!

Peter Giger had also a lot of indish percussion, a big gong and lot of funny stuff in his drumset, Joe told me...... :blink:

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Billy Brooks was playing drums with Eddie Harris in Chicago - late summer 1964 is the date I have pinned on the account. The club was the West End in the south shore section (71st and Stony Island) and the band also had Bill Fielder (t), ? Watson (tb), Jodie Christian (p), Melvin Jackson (b), Bucky Taylor (d) - the drummer depended on the repertoire. The gig lasted 2 or 3 weeks.

Billy Brooks was 17 or 18 at the time. His move to Europe helped him avoid the Vietnam War draft.

Mike

I'm revising the date - a bit later to include the period including October 21 and 24, based on the fact that Coltrane was at the Plugged Nickel and Blakey was at McKie's at the same time. Jimmy Garrison and Lee Morgan got busted together during this gig. Apparently the charges didn't stick.

Edited by Michael Fitzgerald
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the first "four for jazz" drummer was Peter Giger....got a CD "best of FOUR FOR JAZZ with Benny Bailey (trumpet)".....its a great record! Joe tells me a funny story where he came with a Hohner Clavinet into a rehersal ...in 1967......and he also plugs some fx-devices between his old wurlitzer piano and the amplifier.....that was completly new for a jazz group....the audience was shocked several times....guess he had a lot of fun!

Peter Giger had also a lot of indish percussion, a big gong and lot of funny stuff in his drumset, Joe told me...... :blink:

I remember reading favourable reviews in Jazz Podium about the Four For Jazz records - curiously enough I never had a chance to hear them. I know Peter Giger pretty well, worked as a roadie for his percussion band for two weeks in 1979 or 1980, and he lived in the town where I still reside for several years. He played in Albert Mangelsdorff's group after Haider's, was one of the avant-garde drummers of these days in Germany. He now lives near Dresden after marrying a rich woman and builds up a percussion museum.

It was a wild and interesting jazz scene in Germany in the 1970's, much more varied than today.

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