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Famous Like Me > Composer > B > Harvey Brooks

Profile of Harvey Brooks on Famous Like Me

Name: Harvey Brooks  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 17th February 1899
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Harvey Brooks (born 1944, New York City) is an American bassist. He has played in many styles of music (notably jazz and popular music), and was folk rock's first notable bass guitarist.

Brooks came out of a New York music scene that was crackling with activity in the early 1960's — one of the younger players on his instrument, he was a contemporary of Andy Kulberg and other eclectic players in their late teens and early 20's, who saw not a huge gap between folk, blues, rock, and jazz. Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson gave Brooks his first boost to fame when he picked him to play as part of Bob Dylan's backing band on the sessions that yielded the song "Like A Rolling Stone" and the album Highway 61 Revisited — in contrast to the kind of folkie-electric sound generated by the band on his previous album, Bringing It All Back Home Wilson and Dylan were looking for a harder, in-your-face electric sound, and Brooks, along with guitarist Michael Bloomfield and organist Al Kooper, provided exactly what was needed on one of the most famous recordings of the 1960's. Brooks may also have been part of the band recruited by Wilson to play the electric backing on the Simon & Garfunkel single "The Sounds Of Silence."

From the Dylan single and album, which became two of the most widely heard (and most controversial, at the time) records of the 1960s, Brooks branched out in a multitude of directions, as he went on to play on records by folk artists like Eric Andersen at Vanguard Records, and Richie Havens and Jim & Jean at Verve Records (where Wilson had jumped after leaving Columbia), and transitional electric folk-rockers such as David Blue (whose producer was looking for a sound similar to that on Highway 61 Revisited), and various blues-rock fusion projects involving Bloomfield and Kooper. Brooks played on Mama Cass's 1968 solo album, and also on some Doors sessions for which Ray Manzarek's keyboard bass was judged inadequate, including the Soft Parade album, and was very visible on the Michael Bloomfield/Al Kooper Supersession, one of the iconic records of late 1960s rock music.

It was through his participation in The Electric Flag, an extension of Michael Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg's interests in blues, that Brooks career took an unexpected turn. The Flag only lasted in its original line-up about a year, and much of that time was spent recording the only album ever released by the original band. But in the course of this, Brooks became known to executives at Columbia Records, including producer Teo Macero who led him to Miles Davis.

Working with Davis involved Brooks in a freer manner of making music than he'd been used to even on the most ambitious sessions with Bloomfield, though it also meant butting up against Davis's ego, personality, and musical sensibilities as a bandleader. Brooks worked wth the legendary jazz trumpeter long enough to contribute memorably to the Bitches Brew and Big Fun albums. From that point on — between the Dylan, Davis, Electric Flag, and Bloomfield and Kooper connections — Brooks' career was made. Even casual listeners became familiar with his name, and from the 1970s into the mid-1990s, Brooks was one of the busiest bassists in music, working with such varied artists as John Martyn, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Seals & Crofts, John Sebastian, Loudon Wainwright III, John Cale, the Fabulous Rhinstones, and Paul Burlison. He has been somewhat less active since the early 1990s, having relocated to Arizona during that decade, but has continued to perform and record.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Harvey Brooks