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Tina Brooks


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Harold Floyd “Tina” Brooks (June 7, 1932 – August 13, 1974) was an American hard bop tenor saxophonist and composer.

Harold Floyd Brooks was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The nickname “Tina”, pronounced Teena, was a variation of “Teeny”, a childhood moniker. He was the brother of Bubba Brooks. He studied harmony and theory with Herbert Bourne. Initially, he studied the C-melody saxophone, which he began playing shortly after he moved to New York with his family in 1944. Brooks’ first professional work came in 1951 with rhythm and blues pianist Sonny Thompson, and, in 1955, Brooks played with vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Brooks also received less formal guidance from trumpeter and composer “Little” Benny Harris, who led the saxophonist to his first recording as a leader. Harris, in fact, was the one who recommended him to Blue Note Records producer Alfred Lion in 1958.

Brooks is best known for his work for Blue Note Records between 1958 and 1961, recording primarily as a sideman with Kenny Burrell, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Freddie Redd, and Jimmy Smith. Around the same period, Brooks was McLean’s understudy in The Connection, a play by Jack Gelber with music by Redd, and performed on an album of music from the play on the Felsted Label.
Brooks recorded five sessions of his own for Blue Note (including one jointly with McLean). The first session was recorded on 16 March 1958 at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, and featured promising young trumpeter Lee Morgan alongside seasoned professionals such as Sonny Clark, Doug Watkins and Art Blakey. Despite the calibre of the players and the quality of the output, Minor Move was not released for more than two decades, long after Brooks had died.


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  • Beeshor1

    Who played hipper licks than Tina? That cat was super-bad and it's a damn shame he isn't celebrated more here in the States. Long live Tina Brooks!

    11 Apr 2010 Reply
  • achoice

    I love Tina man; he runs the gambit of emotions when he plays. Along with a command of the bop language: a great understanding of the use of harmony and the ability to just out right play his ass off. This is what made him one of the all time greats in my book.

    15 Sep 2009 Reply
  • AenAegir

    "Legal" Drug ;-)

    19 Jul 2009 Reply
  • MirkoFait

    one of my favourites... ;)

    8 May 2009 Reply

    A DRUG

    22 Jan 2009 Reply
  • SirAlecHendrix

    Tina Brooks—now connected to the brandnew group ➤ Round Midnight

    26 Sep 2008 Reply
  • Eyeslam

    Depressing me to see how SHORT the lives of some of these greats were...

    23 Sep 2008 Reply

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