Cecil Brooks III
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Cecil Brooks III (born 1959) is an American jazz drummer and record producer who has worked with, among others, John Hicks, Marvin Peterson, Andrew Hill, Arthur Blythe, Russell Gunn, Roseanna Vitro, Etta Jones and Jimmy Ponder.
Cecil Brooks III is a superb stickman of fiery precision. Having traveled extensively national and international with greats like Stanley Turrentine, John Hicks, Billy Eckstine, Jimmy Smith, Geri Allen, Benny Green, Etta Jones, Houston Person, Groove Holmes, David "Fathead" Newman, and Jack McDuff. He has the amazing and inherent versatility to adapt to all musical styles and whatever he plays he uses every piece of drum equipment to set his audience "on fire" musically. Making him one of the hottest drummers today!
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1959. Cecil started playing drums at age 5, he studied with his father Cecil Brooks, Jr. a renowned jazz drummer in his own right. His father introduced Cecil to Art Blakey, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones and the jazz drumming tradition. He would go on professional performances with his father, and by the age of 14 Cecil was himself performing professional gigs on his own. Contemporary drummer out of the style of Art Blakey, Tony Williams. Strongly rooted in hard swing and polyrhythmic technique. Consistently, balancing emotions, sound, feeling and intellect in the music.
Cecil was awarded a full Music Scholarship at Mt. Aloysius College and Duquesne University where he further his education. After receiving his degree, he played around the Pittsburgh area with heavyweights that was visiting the area being one of the top drummer on the scene. Cecil was virtually reviewed in every major music publication and newspaper as well as television and radio in Pittsburgh.
In 1984, Brooks moved to New York City, where his first gigs were with Houston Person and Etta Jones. He toured and recorded with the duet for several years. During the same time he also performed with Oliver Lake, Mingus Dynasty/Big Band, Terence Blanchard, David Murray, Terumasa Hino, Greg Osby, Andrew Hill, Michelle Rosewoman, Nat Adderley and many others.
Brooks has released 9 CDs as a leader starting with "The Collective" in 1989. In his most recent "Hot D.O.G." Brooks holds down with crisp and powerful drumming on the recording. Nicely exploiting his arrangements. His other CDs are tightly-woven, swinging groove spins on jazz and pop, engaging his own arrangements and compositions and jazz standards. Many of his recordings have charted top ten on the Gavin National Radio Air play chart. His list of sidemen greats include: Jack McDuff, Andrew Hill, Hannibal Peterson, Etta Jones, Groove Holmes, Oliver Lake, Houston Person, Don Braden, Jack Walrath and many more. His list of producer include: John Hicks, Jimmy Ponder, Hannibal Peterson, Winard Harper, Darroll Grant, Bruce Williams, Radam Schwartz, Leon Lee Dorsey, Akua Dixon Turre, Russell Gunn Jr, Ron Jackson, Nat Simpkins, Eric Johnson, Arthur Blythe, Chris White, Don Braden, Talib Kibwe, and the list goes on.
From 2003 when he founded it until 2012 when it closed, Brooks was the proprietor of Cecil's Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey. In 2005 ABC's Nightline featured Cecil's Monday Night Big Band. Cecil played host to many visiting Jazz greats as well as many jazz pros who live in the area. It was also a place where young musicians could learn to play and fans could go to listen. Home to many great Jazz musicians, bassist Christian McBride, pianist Geri Allen, saxophonist Don Braden, trombonist Steve Turre all were regulars at the club. Herbie Hancock was also a visitor many times. Bill Cosby launched the grand opening. Brooks was dedicated to bring spirited jazz performances to the club. Dozens of CDs were recorded there. Cecil's Jazz Club was "the hot spot" for jazz in Jersey and will always be remembered in the music world.
Brooks abides a free-spirit, good-timing jazz gait, and is not concerned with reinventing the proverbial wheel. He has been the subject of many articles and reviews: Jazziz, Down Beat, Modern Drummer, JazzTimes, Hot House, The New York Times, BET Jazz Central, Time Warner Cable TV 90 minute documentary Cecil Brooks III The Third Generation, and many other major publications worldwide. Brooks has numerous recognition awards and honors for his work. Drummer with the Chicago Symphony and Bill Cosby show sitcom on CBS. His concert performances include tours throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Norway, in addition to South America, Japan the United States and Canada.
Cecil endorses Sonar Drums, Zildjian Cymbals and Drumsticks, REMO Drum Heads and Rhythm Tech Accessories
As a drummer, composer, arranger, producer, educator, Cecil Brooks will continue to be true to the music he loves. He is passionate about jazz and giving his audiences an experience that will move them to swing.
- The Collective with Geri Allen, Greg Osby, Lonnie Plaxico, Gary Thomas (Muse, 1989)
- Hangin' with Smooth with Justin Robinson, Kenny Davis, Craig Handy, Benny Green, Philip Harper, Peter Washington (Muse, 1990)
- Neck Peckin' Jammie with Robinson, Handy, Geoff Keezer, Christian McBride, Terell Stafford (Muse, 1993)
- Smokin' Jazz with Plaxico, Stephen Scott, Antonio Hart, Jack Walrath, Ravi Coltrane (Muse, 1993)
- For Those Who Love to Groove with Don Braden, Bruce Williams, Radam Schwartz, Riley Mullins (Savant, 1999)
- Our Mister Brooks (Compilation on 32 Jazz, 2000)
- Double Exposure with Gene Ludwig (Savant, 2000)
- Live at Sweet Basil with John Hicks, Don Braden, Dwayne Dolphin, Riley Mullins (Savant, 2000)
- Hot D.O.G. with Kyle Koehler, Mark Chertkoff (Savant, 2008)
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With Arthur Blythe
- Spirits in the Field (Savant, 2000)
- Blythe Byte (Savant, 2001)
- Focus (Savant, 2002)
- Exhale (Savant, 2003)
With John Hicks
- In the Mix (Landmark, 1994)
- Piece for My Peace (Landmark, 1995)
- Something to Live For: A Billy Strayhorn Songbook (HighNote, 1998)
- Nightwind: An Erroll Garner Songbook (HighNote, 1999)
- Impressions of Mary Lou (HighNote, 2000)
- Music in the Key of Clark (HighNote, 2002)
- Fatha's Day: An Earl Hines Songbook (HighNote, 2003)
With Andrew Hill
- But Not Farewell (Blue Note, 1990)
With Etta Jones
With Oliver Lake
With Houston Person
- Basics (Muse, 1987 )
With Jack Walrath
- Serious Hang (Muse, 1992 )