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HARRY BROOKS  

(1895 - 1970)

Composer, Pianist
(1895-1970)

Harry Brooks is best remembered for his 1929 collaboration with Fats Waller and Andy Razaf. That year produced a few modest numbers--“Jungle Jamoree,” “Sweet Savannah Sue,” “Say It with Your Feet,” and “My Man Is Good for Nothin’ But Love.” But one of their songs, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” became an international hit, an enduring jazz standard, and the title of a Broadway revue which moved to Broadway for a very successful run in 1978. Another song, “(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue” stopped the show, Hot Chocolates, when it was introduced with Razaf’s poignant lyrics. In 1929 it was recorded for a white label and became a crossover hit for Louis Armstrong.

Brooks grew up in Pennsylvania and worked with local bands as a pianist, joining Leroy Smith’s Dance Orchestra in 1924. He also had a job composing for a music publisher. After his work with Waller and Razaf he produced few compositions of note except for “Southern Sunset (When the Sun Sets Down South),” a collaboration with Sidney Bechet and Noble Sissle in 1938.

-- Sandra Burlingame

Courtesy of JazzStandards.com

Role: Non-Classical Composer 
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