Eddie Brookshire Day: City recognizes local musician, educator
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.”
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.