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David Bubba Brooks Dies at 79

Tenor saxophonist David “Bubba” Brooks, the older brother of late ’50s, early ’60s Blue Note tenorist Harold “Tina” Brooks and a fine swing player in his own right, died April 11 in New York City. He was 79.

Brooks grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., in a musical family: his father was a singer; his uncle J.C. McAllister played alto sax; his cousin Bill McAllister played tenor. Brooks took a few lessons, but he mostly taught himself to play by practicing to Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie records. It was that swing music, and swing saxophonists like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins, that most influenced his sound.

Brooks, who lived in New York since 1957, played with Bill Doggett for 20 years, until the organist’s death in 1996, as well as with Sonny Thompson, Ruth Brown, George Barkley, the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, Neal Miner, Kenny Drew, Bross Townsend and many others in his long career. But Brooks recorded his first album as a leader only in 1996: The Big Sound of Bubba Brooks featured pianist Bross Townsend and drummer Grady Tate.

Originally Published