Kenny Brooks' story began in Oakland, Ca., where he 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. Brooks 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 Brooks' 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
In 1992 he 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 duo and trio every Friday night at
the SOMA nightspot the Up and Down Club.
In 1996 Brooks 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 such as
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, and 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. He has played and recorded with many
notable musicians such as Mike Clark, Ohio Players, Steve
Smith, Les Claypool, MMW, Josh Roseman etc. In 2006 he
recorded on Chuck MacKinnon's new CD as well as DJ Teeko's
"My Soundstation" and appearing with Teeko's 41Funk Jam
From 2000 - 2010 Brooks played no less than 750 shows with
Bob Weir and RatDog, where the language of John Coltrane
intersected with the language of Jerry Garcia and the
Grateful Dead to electrifying effect. ---see YouTube:RatDog
Moving to NYC in 2007 opened up a whole new world of
musical opportunities including work with Anthony
Pinciotti's Green Lotus Project, Brian Charette, Levon Helm
and many others. Brooks can be heard regularly at places
like the 55 Bar, Small's, Rockwood Music Hall and others.
© 2016 Kenneth A. Brooks