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Tina Brooks and Freddie Hubbard together and alongside in this 1960 Hard Bop beauty, “True Blue.” Great combination, they should have played more together but not to be, as Tina Brooks stopped playing altogether in 1961. The Tina Brooks story is a sad one and unfortunately, a very familiar one. Many talented Jazz musicians and musicians in general have encountered throughout the history of music. Dependency of heroin was the culprit and Tina Brooks could never overcome it. To compound the tragedy even further, all but this album here, which he recorded as the leader, were never released while he was alive. Brooks died at the young age of 42 (1973) and 7 years before the other three albums were released (1980). There was another album he made as a sideman with Jackie McLean named “Street Singer” that was also released after his death and in 1980. Check the Schedule link for play times.
Although a four-LP Mosaic box set purportedly includes every recording led by the obscure but talented tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, this 1994 CD has previously unreleased alternate takes of “True Blue” and “Good Old Soul” that Mosaic overlooked. Brooks is teamed with the young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard (on one of his earliest sessions), pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Taylor for a set dominated by Brooks’ originals. None of the themes may be all that memorable (“Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You” comes the closest), but the hard bop solos are consistently excellent…….Read More
Tina Brooks Biography:
Harold Floyd “Tina Brooks and his twin brother Harry were born to David and Cornelia Brooks in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on June 7, 1932. They were the youngest of eight children.
This close-knit family migrated en masse to the Bronx in New York City in 1944, when Harold was 12 years old. He was already being called Tina (pronounced Teena), a grade school nickname that came from his tiny or teensy size. Around this time, he started playing the C Melody saxophone. In addition to school instruction, he took private lessons with his older brother David Brooks Jr., whose nickname is Bubba. Tina moved from C Melody to alto and finally settled on the tenor as his instrument.
Meanwhile, Bubba was becoming established as an R&B tenor saxophonist. In 1950, he joined pianist Sonny Thompson’s band. When he took a leave of absence in late 1950, Tina took his chair for a few months. In January of ’51, Tina made his recording debut on one of Thompson’s many King sessions done in Cleveland.
Throughout the early fifties, Tina worked with local New York Latin bands and various R&B outfits such as those of singer-pianist Charles Brown and trumpeter Joe Morris. In ’53 or ’54, he went on the road with pianist Amos Milburn. He then joined Lionel Hampton’s orchestra for the spring and summer of 1955. But he found this to be little more than another R&B gig with little room to stretch out.
In 1956, Brooks met trumpeter-composer Little Benny Harris at the Blue Morocco, a Bronx jazz club. Harris took the young tenor under his wing and taught him the vocabulary and intricacies of modern jazz. Tina also developed a close friendship with the brilliant pianist-composer Elmo Hope. He was assimilating early influences (Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray) and current models (Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley) into a style of his own, which was rapidly taking shape……Learn More