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April 6, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 14
 
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C. Calloway Brooks continues his granddad's legacy
C. Calloway Brooks continues his granddad's legacy
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

C. Calloway Brooks is continuing the legacy of his grandfather, the great jazz swing icon, Cab Calloway. The 100th Birthday Anniversary of Cab Calloway is being celebrated throughout 2007-2008, with an international tour of the thirteen member Cab Calloway Orchestra, conducted by C. Calloway Brooks.

Brooks, who is a vocalist, guitarist and arranger, was, from a very early age, exposed to jazz by his grandfather, who took him along to musical gigs and introduced him to Duke Ellington at age three and Louis Armstrong when he was eight. His family has a rich musical heritage. Brooks' great aunt, Blanche Calloway (Cab's sister), was the first woman to lead an all male band; "Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys". The tradition is also continuing into the next generation with Brooks' nephew, Cochise Joseph, thirteen, a drummer and trumpeter, who first started performing professionally at age five in 1999.

Calloway Brooks obtained his first guitar at seven, won his first musical awards at age nine, from the Guild Institute of Music and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, the first major conservatory in the U.S. to offer a Jazz Music degree. He has performed with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton Orchestras and numerous international jazz artists, including Cyrus Chestnut, Kenny Burell, Don Byron, Anthony Braxton, Sheila Jordon and Rufus Reid.

One of Brooks' other projects is a Klezmer group which combines African American swing with Eastern European Jewish music. Brooks notes among his guitarist inspirations: Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and seven string guitarist, George Van Ep.

The two member Mills Brothers are traveling with the Orchestra. The original Mills Brothers performed with the Cab Calloway Orchestra throughout the 1940's and 1950's at the Cotton Club in Harlem. The international tour will take the Orchestra to China, Russia and Switzerland.

Brooks said that he really loved being in Seattle and that he ranked it as a favorite, along with San Diego, for being free spirited, having a well educated population and a human size and scale.

For more information about C. Calloway Brooks and the Cab Calloway Centenary Celebration, visit: www.cab100.com.

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