John Benson Brooks

John Benson Brooks (February 23, 1917, Houlton, Maine – November 13, 1999, New York City) was an American jazz pianist, songwriter, arranger, and composer.

Brooks worked early in his career as an arranger for Randy Brooks, Les Brown, Boyd Raeburn, and Tommy Dorsey. He worked often with lyricists Eddie DeLange and Bob Russell in the 1940s; he and DeLange wrote the song "Just as Though You Were Here," a hit for Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra as vocalist. He wrote "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis" with Bob Russell for Ray McKinley, released as a single in 1948.

In 1956 Brooks worked with Zoot Sims and Al Cohn on a recording "Folk Jazz U.S.A." He became better-known as a composer during this time, and his works blend elements of folk music and dodecaphony with the idioms of modern jazz. In 1958 he composed a work entitled Alabama Concerto and assembled a cast of sidemen for a recording which included Cannonball Adderley, Art Farmer, Barry Galbraith, and Milt Hinton. The recording was eventually re-issued under Adderley's name.

Brooks was a close friend of Gil Evans. Evans later recorded his works "Sirhan's Blues" and "Where Flamingos Fly" (the last co-written with Harold Courlander and Elthea Peale). Brooks and Courlander collaborated on a book of transcriptions of rural blues and spirituals in Alabama, which provided some of the inspiration for the Alabama Concerto. A trio Brooks formed In the 1960s performed at the International Jazz Festival in Washington in 1962 with a composition called "The Twelves," based on improvisations on twelve-tone rows. This became part of a LP called "Avant Slant," which was a collage of new and already recorded sounds and songs from Milt Gabler, the poet Robert Graves, LeRoi Jones, Lightnin' Hopkins, and others.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 23rd, 1917 (Houlton), Died November 13th, 1999 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1942 - 1967

Roles Represented in DAHR: arranger, piano, songwriter, composer

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-073487 10-in. 3/30/1942 Who threw the whiskey in the well? Hardway Four ; Sunset Orchestra ; Doc Wheeler Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and male vocal quartet songwriter  
Victor BS-075204 10-in. 5/18/1942 Just as though you were here The Pied Pipers ; Frank Sinatra ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and vocal ensemble songwriter  
Decca 72964 10-in. 7/2/1945 No more Toujours l'amour Randy Brooks arranger  
Decca 72965 10-in. 7/2/1945 I'd do it all over again Randy Brooks arranger  
Decca 72966 10-in. 7/2/1945 I'm gonna love that guy Randy Brooks arranger  
Decca 72995 10-in. 8/3/1945 I'm gonna love that guy Randy Brooks ; Marion Hutton arranger  
Decca 72996 10-in. 8/3/1945 Benny's comin' home on Saturday Randy Brooks ; Marion Hutton arranger  
Decca 72997 10-in. 8/3/1945 Holiday forever Randy Brooks arranger  
Decca 73171 10-in. 12/3/1945 Thunder rock Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73208 10-in. 12/3/1945 Harlem nocturne Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73209 10-in. 12/3/1945 I never thought I'd sing the blues Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73210 10-in. 12/3/1945 In a moon mist Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73211 10-in. 12/3/1945 Don't let me dream Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73469 3/22/1946 Somebody loves me Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73470 3/22/1946 Without you (Tres palabras) Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73471 3/22/1946 Strange love Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73499 4/12/1946 A night at The Deuces Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73500 4/12/1946 How high the moon Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73501 4/12/1946 Beyond the blue horizon Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73552 5/2/1946 Surrender Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73553 5/2/1946 More than you know Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73558 5/8/1946 One love Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73559 5/8/1946 Holiday forever Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 73560 5/8/1946 Beyond the blue horizon Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 74001 7/14/1947 Lamplight Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 74002 7/14/1947 Tenderly Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 74003 7/14/1947 The man with the horn Randy Brooks Orchestra arranger  
Decca 119405 9/7/1967 But where are you? John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119406 9/7/1967 Love is psychedelic John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119407 9/7/1967 El bluebirdo John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119525 10/24/1967 Avant slant-1 John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119526 10/24/1967 Avant slant-2 John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119527 10/24/1967 Avant slant-3 John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119528 10/24/1967 When I first came to town-4 John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119532 10/30/1967 The king must go John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119533 10/30/1967 Cherries are ripe John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119534 10/30/1967 Ornette John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119535 10/30/1967 Satin takes John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119556 9/7/1967 What's a square? John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119557 11/6/1967 The Gods on high-1 John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119558 11/6/1967 Avant slant (assorted music) John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119559 11/6/1967 Mend them fences John Benson Brooks instrumentalist, piano  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Brooks, John Benson," accessed October 24, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109402.

Brooks, John Benson. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109402.

"Brooks, John Benson." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 24 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109402

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