Is this a comedy album laced with jazz or a jazz album laced with comedy? Good solid players (including Noel Jewkes,a Bay Area jazz icon) and Buzz's diverse vocal chops deliver parody, satire, wordplay, and a few just plain funny songs. Enjoy!
Buzz is a kind of a wacky dude who believes that "He who dies having laughed the most, wins."
Bob Brooks acquired the nickname "Buzz" when, in his first band, circa 1967, he developed a reputation as a type-A, high-energy sort of fellow.
Between the ages of 11 and 13, Buzz took piano lessons, and quit. Fortunately the piano teacher taught some ear training and theory, so that when an older friend started spinning 45s from the Stax and Motown labels, Buzz was able to decipher the chords. This led to a seven-year stint with an R & B show band called "300 Years", so named because they felt that it had taken 300 years here in the U.S. to get to the point where everyone in a multi-racial performing act could truly be on equal footing.
When it was time to go to college, Buzz was accepted at Berklee School of Music in Boston, (and Bostun U and Washington U) but he never attended because he had signed a contract with 300 Years and a talent agent in New York. So he went instead to Hofstra University for a semester or two before he had to drop out, due to 300 Years being on the road 265 days a year. During this era, 300 Years opened for Sly Stone, Deep Purple, Sam and Dave, King Curtis, the Manhattans, the Coasters, the Platters, the Chambers Brothers, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Spinners, the Trammps, Eddie Kendricks, the Stylistics, Isaac Hayes, the Ohio Players, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Kool and the Gang, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and others. The group broke up in 1977, whereupon Buzz moved to San Francisco, and after a few years working as an expediter in the construction industry, he became a cab driver. Buzz has recently been the featured cab driver on a few broadcast TV shows in the Bay Area.
In the 80s, Buzz dropped out of the music scene, bought a grand piano, and wrote a few things.
In the 90s, seized by the itch to perform again, he played in blues bands in and around the Bay Area, and played as a sideman for an R & B revue.
In the late 90s, Buzz came back once again to music, this time as a vocalist. He sang with the Skyline College Choir, then the City College Gospel Choir, and finally the Oakland Jazz Choir for four years. During this period he was also a featured vocalist with the City College Big Band.
In 2003, Buzz decided it was time to put a permanent scar on the local musical landscape, something official-looking and official-sounding, to manifest whatever he had learned so far, but mostly, to manifest more mirth. And so "The Oenophile Anthem" was born.
Currently Buzz is laughing about something
somewhere. Perhaps it's this silly paraphrase of I Peter 4:8:
"A little visual charity covers a multitude of audial sins." That is, sometimes it pays to misdirect the audience via the judicial use of artifice; specifically, histrionics, visual aids, and frequent doses of humor -- to distract them from whatever performance deficiencies, real or imagined, that they may perceive.
© 2005 Buzz Brooks