|Birth name||Chester Monson Brooks Joseph Kerr III|
December 26, 1951|
New Haven, Connecticut U.S.
April 28, 2018 (aged 66)|
New York, New York U.S.
Blue Wail Records
Chester Monson Brooks Joseph Kerr III (December 26, 1951 – April 28, 2018) was an American jazz pianist. He was perhaps best known for being bandleader of a small group featuring Sonny Greer and Russell Procope and for his knowledge of Duke Ellington's work, which he often performed.
Early life and education
Kerr was born premature, and suffered from a degenerative retinal disease called retrolental fibroplasia, which made him blind in one eye and only partially seeing in the other. By the time he was 28, Kerr was totally blind due to glaucoma.
Because of his blindness, his parents focused on teaching him to focus on other senses, notably music. Kerr learned the piano by assigning colors in his mind for each key. He became a child prodigy on the piano.
In 1963, Kerr's parents got divorced. He and his siblings lived with his mother in New York City. From 1964 to 1972 studied piano with Sanford Gold. From 1969 to 1973, Kerr was a student of Willie "The Lion" Smith.
The band Kerr led with Greer and Procope frequented Greenwich Village jazz clubs and hotels in the New York City area.
- 1950: Masterpieces by Ellington, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – as Research Assistant
- 1959: Festival Session, Duke Ellington – as Research Assistant
- 1974: Prevue, Brooks Kerr-Paul Quinichette Quartet with Gene Ramey & Sam Woodyard (Famous Door)
- 1975: Soda Fountain Rag (The Music Of Duke Ellington) (aka Poodle Dog Rag), Brooks Kerr (Chiaroscuro Records)
- 1981: Brooks Kerr Salutes Fats Waller, Brooks Kerr (Blue Wail Records)
- 1981: Brooks Kerr Salutes Irving Berlin, Brooks Kerr (Blue Wail Records)
- 1982: Brooks Kerr Salutes Duke Ellington, Brooks Kerr (Blue Wail Records)
- Bebco, Joe (1 May 2018). "Brooks Kerr, 66 – The Syncopated Times". The Syncopated Times.
- Roberts, Sam (9 May 2018). "Brooks Kerr, Piano Prodigy and Ellington Expert, Dies at 66". The New York Times.
- Yanow, Scott. "Brooks Kerr: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "Kerr, Brooks (Chester Monson Brooks Joseph Kerr III)". Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. Jazz.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012.
- Honan, William H. (26 August 1999). "Chester Brooks Kerr, 86, Scholars' Editor". The New York Times.
- Heberlein, Regine (processed by) (2010). "Chester Brooks Kerr Papers, 1936-1947: Preliminary Finding Aid" (Finding aid). Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. Princeton University.
- Ferguson, Fred (3 October 1982). "Jazz history is bonus for buffs". United Press International.
- Wilson, John S. (12 May 1974). "He Knows More Ellington Than Duke Himself". The New York Times. pp. 119, 134.
- "Brooks Kerr. Keeping Ellington's Legacy Alive: The Musicians Foundation Helps the Steward of Duke Ellington's Songs Play On". Musicians Foundation. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
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