Ed­die Brook­shire Day: City rec­og­nizes lo­cal mu­si­cian, ed­u­ca­tor

Dayton Daily News - - LIFE - By Don Thrasher Con­tribut­ing Writer Con­tact this con­tribut­ing writer at don­thrasher10­0@ gmail.com.

The Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion des­ig­nated April as Jazz Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Month in 2001 to com­mem­o­rate the his­tory and her­itage of jazz in the United States. The Day­ton Mu­si­cians As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently ob­tained a city procla­ma­tion to make April Jazz Month in Day­ton and the des­ig­na­tion of April 17 as Ed­die Brook­shire Day.

“The Smith­so­nian rec­og­nized jazz was a vi­able part of our cul­ture,” said Day­ton Mu­si­cians As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Kweku Ayan­gade. “We wanted to get it rec­og­nized in Day­ton be­cause it’s im­por­tant to get that mes­sage out about this art form.

“Ed­die Brook­shire is one of our tal­ented jazz mu­si­cians here in the area,” Ayan­gade con­tin­ued. “He’s a home­town boy and he’s been around, so it’s great to give him that recog­ni­tion now. You don’t wait un­til peo­ple pass away be­fore you rec­og­nize them.”

Brook­shire, a mu­si­cian and ed­u­ca­tor, ad­mits he was sur­prised by the news.

“I don’t know what to think about it,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m hon­ored by it, but it did come as a real sur­prise. I feel blessed, but I’m walk­ing around in a half­daze won­der­ing just what it is and what it en­tails.”

Brook­shire, who re­lo­cated to Day­ton when he was 10, was born into a mu­si­cal fam­ily in Carthage, Miss., in 1941. His fa­ther was a Delta blues guitarist and his mother played the bon­gos and sang in the church choir.

Brook­shire started study­ing pi­anowhen he was 7 be­fore switch­ing three years later to clar­inet, which he played through­out high school. He moved to Los An­ge­les in 1961 and started teach­ing him­self elec­tric bass. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963 and re­ceived an hon­or­able dis­charge in 1965.

He re­turned to Day­ton in the late 1970s. Brook­shire at­tended Sin­clair Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Cen­tral State Univer­sity, where he stud­ied mu­sic and per­formed with big bands, jazz com­bos and eth­nic mu­sic en­sem­bles. Since then, the bass player has di­vided his time be­tween teach­ing and per­form­ing with var­i­ous groups, in­clud­ing the Ed­die Brook­shire Big Band, the Keigo Hi­rakawa Trio and the Kelli Camp­bell Quar­tet.

“Mu­sic is a part of my day, all day and night,” Brook­shire said. Well, I do get some sleep. (laughs) I’m still teach­ing down at Sin­clair and I’m still run­ning the big band, a quin­tet and a trio. I try to keep busy. Things aren’t go­ing bad at all. There is a lot of church ac­tiv­ity and I got in­volved with the Cub Scouts now.

“Things are go­ing great,” he added. “It seems like life took a nice turn. Mu­sic has been treat­ing me good so I’ll try to re­turn the fa­vor and treat it good.”

FILE

Ed­die Brook­shire plays the up­right bass with his Day­ton-based band, Ed­die Brook­shire’s Big Band, at the Women In Jazz Fes­ti­val in down­town Day­ton in 2003.

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