KENNY BROOKS — www.kennybrooks.com
Kenny Brooks was inspired to play reed instruments from the age of 9. After graduating from El Cerrito H.S. in 1984, he went directly to the New England Conservatory at age 17. There he studied with master saxophonist George Garzone and other notable faculty including George Russell, Bob Moses and Ken Radnofsky. Kenny received his B.M. in '88 and returned to the Bay Area in '89.
His work in the early 90's included the Peck Allmond Group, the Afro-pop group Kotoja and the start of his long-term association with legendary drummer Eddie Marshall. 1991 was the birth year of his and Jay Lane's - they've been playing together since high school - groundbreaking hip/hop-jazz band Alphabet Soup. Co-founded with pianist Dred Scott, Alphabet Soup remains one of San Francisco's most popular bands. Alphabet Soup was the first hip/hop-jazz group at both the Monterey and San Francisco Jazz Festivals.
In 1992 Kenny recorded with his hero and teacher Joe Henderson on Kitty Margolis' CD "Evolution". In 1994 Kenny Brooks and Charlie Hunter began a run of almost 3 years playing as a duo and/or trio every Friday night at the SOMA nightspot the Up and Down Club. In 1996 KB joined the Charlie Hunter Quartet. They recorded the CD "Natty Dread" for Blue Note and toured extensively throughout the U. S., Canada and Europe. By 1995 Brooks was leading a trio under his own name with Eddie Marshall and top Bay Area bassist Jeff Chambers. Brooks played at the Monterey Jazz Festival in '83, '89, '90, '91, '92, '93, '94, '95 and '99. Other international festivals include the North Sea, Montreaux, Istanbul, What Is Jazz? (Knitting Factory), Copenhagen, Molde(Norway), Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and many others. Gigs have included venues like the House of Blues(New Orleans, L.A. , Cambridge, Anaheim, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Myrtle Beach), Yoshi's, Knitting Factory, Red Rocks, L.A. Greek Theater, Berkeley Greek Theatre to name just a few. Brooks has toured to Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, England, Germany, Turkey and Holland. Brooks has played and recorded with people like Mike Clark, Ohio Players, Steve Smith, Les Claypool, MMW, String Cheese Incident, Josh Roseman, etc..
In 2000, RatDog was looking for a new reed man and Jay recommended Kenny. His first gig was at the Atlanta Midtown Music Festival, and by the end of his three "audition" gigs, the job was his.
Kenny Brooks photo by Susana Millman