Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Brooks Kerr (1951–2018)

Brooks Kerr, pianist and Duke Ellington scholar, has died at the age of sixty-six. The New York Times has an obituary.

There’s a YouTube channel for Kerr’s recordings, but no trace online of the recording I’d like to link to: Soda Fountain Rag (Chiaroscuro, 1975), a wonderful sampling of early Ellingtonia, with Kerr (then twenty-four) accompanied by a spirited Sonny Greer, the Ellington band’s first drummer (then seventy-nine). Instead, here’s a live recording from 1974 of Kerr playing “Soda Fountain Rag,” generally considered Ellington’s first composition.

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