Pianist, vocalist and composer, b.1916 d.2002, Los Angeles, CA – She was born Hadda Hopgood in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California. A versatile performer whose career spanned almost six decades and whose repertoire included boogiefied classics, blues, ballads and torch songs, Brooks became known as “the Queen of Boogie Woogie” right after the release, in 1945, of her first single, “Swingin’ the Boogie”.
Born into a prominent African American family from Georgia, she was taught to play the piano from the age of four and later studied classical music. In the course of her career, Brooks also appeared in films, mainly as a pianist and/or lounge singer (Out of the Blue, 1947; In a Lonely Place, 1950, performing “I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You”). In the 1950s, she was one of the first African American women to host her own television show (The Hadda Brooks Show). After an early retirement, which she spent in Hawaii and Australia, she returned to Los Angeles to be rediscovered in 1986. She died of heart failure in Los Angeles at the age of 86.
Bass, b.1943, Krefeld, Germany
Drums b.1908 d.1984, Fon du Lac, WI
Trombone, b.1908 d.1996, Berlin, Germany
Percussion, b.1941, Nassau, Bahamas
Jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger, b.1922, Hastings, Nebraska – He began arranging professionally in his teens, when he wrote charts for Nat Towles. He became a prominent composer and arranger while playing trumpet for Woody Herman; while working for Herman he provided new arrangements for “Woodchopper’s Ball” and “Blowin’ Up a Storm,” and composed “The Good Earth” and “Wild Root.” After leaving Herman’s band in 1946, Hefti concentrated on arranging and composing, although he occasionally led his own bands. He is especially known for his charts for Count Basie such as “Li’l Darlin'” and “Cute”. In the 1960s and later he composed and arranged mainly for movies and television. He wrote the background music for movies such as Sex and the Single Girl, How to Murder Your Wife, Synanon, Boeing Boeing, Harlow, Lord Love a Duck, Duel at Diablo, Oh Dad Poor Dad Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, and Barefoot in the Park.
His best-known contributions of this period are the theme of the TV series such as Batman and The Odd Couple.
Piano, b.1934 d.1996, Hilversum, Netherlands
John Haley “Zoot” Sims
Tenor Sax & Soprano saxophonist , b.1925 d.1985, Inglewood, CA – He was born in Inglewood, California. Sims’ family was involved in vaudeville, and, for his part, John learned to play both drums and clarinet at an early age. Sims’ father was a vaudeville hoofer, and he prided himself on remembering many of the steps his father taught him. Following in the footsteps of Lester Young, Sims developed into an innovative tenor saxophonist. Throughout his career, he played with renowned bands, including Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and Buddy Rich. Sims was known among his peers as one of the strongest swingers in the field. He frequently led his own combos and sometimes toured with his friend Gerry Mulligan’s sextet, and later with Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band. Sims had a long, successful partnership as co-leader of a quintet with Al Cohn, which recorded under the name “Al and Zoot”. That group was a favorite at the New York club “The Half Note.” Late in his career, Sims added the soprano saxophone to his performances. Sims acquired the nickname – Zoot – early in his career while he was in the Kenny Baker band in California. The name was later appropriated for a sax-playing Muppet. Zoot Sims died in New York on March 23, 1985.