"The MaYOR" of Ann Arbor Jazz:

A Tribute to Ron Brooks

Friday, September 16th @ 7:30 PM

Kerrytown Concert House salutes jazz bassist, bandleader and entrepreneur, Ron Brooks. His famous and beloved Bird Of Paradise Jazz Club was well-known for 20 years as one of the great jazz venues in the world. This special tribute features friends and protégés of Brooks, including Rick Roe (piano), Pete Siers (drums), Cary Kocher (vibraphone), Vincent Bowens (saxophone), Rayse Biggs (trumpet), Paul Keller (bass), George Davidson (drums), and Brooks himself (bass).

Ron Brooks’ historical importance to the Ann Arbor jazz scene cannot be understated. This concert’s show of affection is a special tribute to him, a man whose contributions to jazz and to our community are too many to be counted.

In 1962, Brooks debuted with the Bob James Trio on their album Bold Conceptions. In 1968, Brooks was the bassist in the nationally recognized Contemporary Jazz Quintet, which featured pianist Kenny Cox. Throughout the 1970s Brooks shared the stage with Eddie Russ, Sarah Vaughn, Mel Torme and Sonny Stitt. In 1975, Brooks founded the band Mixed Bag, a popular jazz ensemble that featured saxophonist Larry Nozero. Various incarnations of the Ron Brooks Trio have included pianists Bob James, Kevin O’Connell, Larry Manderville, Eddie Russ, Tad Weed, and Rick Roe; and drummers Larry Bell, Danny Spencer, George Davidson, and Pete Siers.

Perhaps the most familiar part of his legacy is the 20 years that Brooks created, cared for, maintained, and operated the famous Bird Of Paradise Jazz Club (from 1984 to 2004), originally located on S. Ashley Street and later, on S. Main. The Bird Of Paradise was indeed a paradise for jazz lovers and jazz musicians – a hub of the music community, a haven of artistic creativity, and a safe and supportive environment where jazz could flourish. The Bird employed a bevy of local jazz musicians – seven nights a week – and gave many of them a helping hand up in their burgeoning careers. The Bird Of Paradise also hosted incredible and memorable performances from Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Monty Alexander, Shirley Horn, The Count Basie Orchestra, Abby Lincoln, Jeff Hamilton, and many more.

Ann Arbor and Kerrytown Concert House recognize and appreciate the amazing work that Ron Brooks has done in our area to preserve, promote and propagate jazz music for the music-loving public and for future generations.

COVID-19 Policy for Indoor Concerts at Kerrytown Concert House

  • Masks are strongly encouraged and available as needed.
  • Please do not attend a performance if you are feeling ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19.
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