Kenny Brooks' story began in Oakland, Ca., where he was inspired to play reed instruments from the age of 9. After graduating from El Cerrito H.S. in 1984 he went directly to the New England Conservatory at age 17. There he studied with master saxophonist George Garzone and other notable faculty including George Russell, Bob Moses and Ken Radnofsky. Brooks received his B.M. in '88 and returned to the Bay Area in '89.
His work in the early 90's included the Peck Allmond Group, the afro-pop group Kotoja and the start of his long-term association with legendary drummer Eddie Marshall.
1991 was the birth year of Brooks' groundbreaking hip/hop-jazz band Alphabet Soup. Co-founded with pianist Dred Scott, Alphabet Soup remains one of San Francisco's most popular bands. Alphabet Soup was the first hip/hop-jazz group at both the Monterey and San Francisco Jazz Festivals.
In 1992 he recorded with his hero and teacher Joe Henderson on Kitty Margolis' CD Evolution.
In 1994 Kenny Brooks and Charlie Hunter began a run of almost 3 years playing duo and trio every Friday night at the SOMA nightspot the Up and Down Club.
In 1996 Brooks joined the Charlie Hunter Quartet. They recorded the CD Natty Dread for Blue Note and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. By 1995 Brooks was leading a trio under his own name with Eddie Marshall and top Bay Area bassist Jeff Chambers. Brooks played at the Monterey Jazz Festival in '83, '89, '90, '91, '92, '93, '94, '95 and '99.