Harvey Oliver Brooks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the bass player born in 1944, see Harvey Brooks.

Harvey Oliver Brooks (17 February 1899 in Philadelphia – 17 June 1968 in Los Angeles) was an American pianist and composer. He is the first black American to have written a complete score for a major motion picture: Mae West's film I'm No Angel (1933).[1]


Brooks toured and recorded with Mamie Smith in the early 1920s, then settled in California. Beginning 1923, he and Paul Howard co-led the Quality Four, a quartet with vocalist named after the Quality Cafe at 12th and Central in Los Angeles. It members were

Henry "Tin Can" Allen (drums)
Harvey O. Brooks (piano)
Jessie Derrick (vocals)
Leon H. Herriford (1894–1937) (clarinet, alto saxophone)[2]
Paul Howard (clarinet, tenor sax)

Brooks recorded with the Quality Four and Howard’s Quality Serenaders. He remained a member of both until 1930. Brooks was the music director for Les Hite’s orchestra from 1931 to 1935. In this role, he worked for Hollywood film studios, composing soundtrack music. Brooks later worked as a leader of his own band, played in Kid Ory’s band (from 1952), and performed and recorded with Teddy Buckner (1955–1956) and Joe Darensbourg (1957–1960). Beginning 1961, he became a member of the Young Men of New Orleans (dixieland jazz group), which he led in the last year of his life.[3][4][5][6]

Selected discography[edit]

50877-1 – Stuff (stomp), Lionel Hampton (vocal), music by Brooks, Victor (V–38122–B)
George Orendorff (trumpet), Lawrence Brown (trombone, arranger), Charlie Lawrence (clarinet, alto sax, arranger), Paul Howard (tenor xas, director), Harvey Brooks (piano), Thomas Valentine (banjo, guitar), James Jackson (tuba), Lionel Hampton (drums, vocal)
  • Joe Darensbourg and his Dixie Flyers, recorded live at The Lark, Los Angeles, October 1957
Live, American Music Records (1957) (re-released 1997) OCLC 48525562
Musicians: Mike Delay (trumpet), Warren Smith (trombone), Joe Darensbourg (clarinet, soprano sax, vocal), Harvey O. Brooks (piano), Al Morgan (bass), George Vann (drums, vocal), Richard Kenner (vocal)


From the 1933 film, I'm No Angel

  • I Found A New Way To Go To Town (1933)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
    lyrics by Gladys DuBois and Ben Ellison
    sung by Mae West
  • I Want You, I Need You (1933)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
    lyrics by Ben Ellison
    played on a piano and sung by Mae West
  • I'm No Angel (1933)
    music by Harvey Brooks
    lyrics by Gladys DuBois and Ben Ellison
    sung by Mae West at the end and during the closing credits
  • (No One Love Me Like) That Dallas Man (1933)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
    lyrics by Gladys DuBois and Ben Ellison
    played on a record on which Mae West sings
  • They Call Me Sister Honky Tonk (1933)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
    lyrics by Gladys DuBois and Ben Ellison
    sung by Mae West

Other selected compositions[edit]

  • Blow, Man, Blow!
    words & music by Harvey O. Brooks & Ellis Lawrence Walsh
  • Finger Wave (1936)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
  • It's A Mighty Pretty Night For Love
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
  • Love In The First Degree (1936)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
  • Shack In The Back (1936)
    music by Harvey O. Brooks
  • That's The One For Me
    music by Harvey O. Brooks & Ellis Lawrence Walsh


  1. ^ Joe Darensbourg, Jazz odyssey: The Autobiography of Joe Darensbourg, edited by Peter Vacher, Louisiana State University Press (1987) OCLC 17405719 ISBN 0807114421 ISBN 9780807114421
  2. ^ Reginald T. Buckner, A History of Music Education in the Black Community of Kansas City, Kansas, 1905-1954, Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 91-106
  3. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Jazz, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey (1982) OCLC 8626853 ISBN 0130779660 ISBN 9780130779663
  4. ^ Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street, by John James Chilton (born 1932), Chilton Book Co., Philadelphia (1972) OCLC 278739 ISBN 0801957052 ISBN 9780801957055
  5. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd edition, edited by Barry Dean Kernfeld (born 1950), Three volumes, Macmillan Publishers, London (2002) OCLC 46956628 ISBN 1561592846 ISBN 9781561592845 ISBN 033369189X ISBN 9780333691892
  6. ^ Albert J McCarthy (1920–1987), Big Band Jazz, G.P. Putnam (1974) OCLC 25339644 and 255254368 ISBN 0399111727 ISBN 9780399111723