Born: August 16, 1959 Primary Instrument: Drums
A contemporary drummer and aggressive, polyrhythmic stylist, Cecil Brooks, III has worked in the New York area with such musicians as Greg Osby, Geri Allen and Lonnie Plaxico. He recorded his debut album as a leader for Muse in 1989, subsequently releasing efforts including 1990's Hangin' with Smooth, 1993's Neck Peckin' Jammie and 2000's Our Mister Brooks in addition to session work in both a hard bop and bebop setting. The intimate setting of Live at Sweet Basil (2001).
His father was a drummer and a grandfather a concert pianist, Brooks recalls that music just flourished through the house. ... It was there to partake in anytime I wanted to. Philly Joe [Jones] used to come by, and Art Blakey. I played on Blakey's drums when I was 10 years old.
Blakey was one of my earlier influences - though my father, Cecil Brooks 11, was definitely my first influence. From there it went to Tony Williams and Max Roach, all the way back to Cozy Cole.
Brooks is also making his mark on the music as a producer, recently Muse created a subsidiary label, Westside Records, so he could produce some of the older, lesser-known artists whom he's been bringing into the Muse stable, including vocalists Gail Allen and Jackie Woods and saxophonist Reggie Wood.