A great fan and student of Duke Ellington's music, Brooks Kerr had the opportunity to utilize a few of Duke's sidemen after Ellington's death. He first performed in public when he was nine and, after moving to New York, Kerr often hung out with Willie The Lion Smith during 1969-1973. He also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and at Juilliard. Among the veterans who played in Kerr's band were Sonny Greer, Russell Procope and (briefly) Ray Nance and Paul Gonsalves. Kerr recorded for Famous Door in 1974 (leading a quartet that also included Paul Quinichette, Gene Ramey, and Sam Woodyard), Chiaroscuro (a set of duets in 1975 with Greer), and Blue Wail during 1981-1982 (tributes to Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and Irving Berlin). He died in a Manhattan hospital in April 2018 at the age of 66. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

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