Bob Brookmeyer

Bob Brookmeyer is a unique and diverse musician with a wide range of experience in both improvised and written music. Born December 19, 1929, he attended Kansas City Conservatory of Music and won the Carl Busch Prize in Choral Composition. He arrived in New York to play piano with Mel Lewis, Tex Benecke and Teddy Charles. While there, he performed the music of Eddie Sauter along with Ray McKinley. After a brief time with Claude Thornhill he joined Stan Getz, where he remained for fifteen years. After leaving Stan Getz in 1954, he joined Gerry Mulligan. He replaced Chet Baker and produced the “Paris Concerts”. This partnership lasted until Mulligan’s death. The creation of the Concert Jazz Band was one of his greatest achievements. He spent 1958 with Jimmy Guiffre Three, Jim Hall and was the first to use regular free improvisation in concert. He also recorded a 2-piano album with Bill Evans and was a regular member of the studio musicians group. The Quintet of Clark Terry was formed in 1961 and has continued to be a huge success to this day. He was again a contributing composer/arranger to the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis group. He and Jim Hall also played together for 1 year in 1979, earning critical acclaim. He began his European work in 1981 as a conductor and composer, and he created many works for Cologne. While he was also appointed Mel Lewis Orchestra’s Musical Director, he began a career as a University teacher at the Manhattan School of Music. He was named Director of the BMI Composers Workshop in 1988. In 1991, he moved to Holland to establish a new school that teaches improvised and compositional music. After the collapse of this venture, he returned to America and settled in New Hampshire. He was appointed Chair of the New England Conservatory’s Jazz Composition Department. He was also invited to start a jazz project at The Famed Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. This led to the formation of the New Art Orchestra, an 18-piece group that is still his main source of composition. The trio recorded three CDs for Challenge labela “New Works”, which was the CD of the Year for England, “Waltzing With Zoe”, and “Get Well Soon,” which were nominated for Grammys in 2005. Bob continues to write and perform with the New Art Orchestra. He mentors students at New England Conservatory and expands his horizons. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

Leave a Comment