Randy Brooks "Tenderly" 1946
Another trumpet great who is largely forgotten.
Through no fault of his own, Randy Brooks ultimately had a tragic life after a brief period of fame. An excellent swing-based trumpeter who started playing when he was six, Brooks picked up very early experience performing with Rudy Vallee, touring with the singer for two years, starting when he was 11! He also worked with Claude Thornhill, Bob Allen, Art Jarrett's Orchestra (which was organized after the death of Hal Kemp) and, most importantly, in 1944 with Les Brown's Big Band. Brooks (who was influenced by Harry James) started his own orchestra in late-1944, just when the swing era was ending. He had some success during 1945-47 despite the odds being against him. John Benson Brooks contributed some of the arrangements and, although the sidemen are little-known today, the young Stan Getz was in the band for a short period in 1946. Brooks' Orchestra recorded for Decca and had hits in "Tenderly," "Harlem Nocturne" and "The Man With The Horn." However the band eventually failed as did most jazz orchestras during the period. Brooks married fellow bandleader Ina Ray Hutton and moved to Los Angeles where tragedy struck. A major stroke in the late '40s ended his career and in 1967 Brooks was burned to death in a fire. Today he is largely forgotten and unfortunately his generally rewarding recordings are mostly out of-print. Randy Brooks deserved much better.