player who blew through the ‘70s with an astonishing session career,
genre-hopping effortlessly between jazz, pop, and R&B.
He opened the
decade by appearing on Carmen McRae’s Just a Little Lovin’ and Edgar Winter’s
freshman offering, Entrance, and
went on to record with an eclectic array of artists that includes George
Benson, Billy Cobham, Deodato,
Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie, Chaka Khan, Michel Legrand,
Esther Phillips, Ray Starling, Gabor Szabo, and
Grover Washington, Jr.
Some of the
other albums on which he appeared in the ‘70s are Luiz
Strut, David Clayton-Thomas’s eponymous debut, Bill Evans’ Symbiosis, Bob James’ Heads, Eddie Kendrick’s Vintage ’78, Kleer’s Winners,
Don McLean’s Homeless Brother,
Charles Mingus’s Let My Children Hear Music, Carly
Simon’s Boys in Trees,
Frank Sinatra’s Trilogy,
and Randy Weston’s Blue Moses. Given his track record, it is
unsurprising that he also shows up on The
saw his session work decline, but he was also busy as a classical
musician. On 14th
January 1986, he performed Gary William Friedman’s “Concertino
for French Horn and Small Ensemble” at The Vineyard Theater in New
York. In 1988, he found time to
appear on Brian Slawson’s Distant Drums.
As the CD era
began, more of his work began to appear in digitalized form: Tony Bennett’s Who Can I Turn To, Stanley Turrentine’s On
a Misty Night, Hank Crawford’s Wildflower, Barbara Cook’s It’s Better with a Band, The Very Best of Ashford & Simpson, and Claus Ogerman: A Man and his Music all bear
Brooks’ trademark French horn stylings. He also recorded on a handful of
movie soundtracks: The Baker’s Wife, Koyaanisqatsi,
Mo’ Better Blues, and The Wiz.
In 1995, he
officially retired, although he continues to do some fill-in work for
orchestras in New York state.
On 18th November 2007, he was the featured performer with
the Glen Falls Symphony Orchestra, interpreting none other than
Mozart’s “Concerto No. 4 for French Horn”, Bach’s
“Brandenburg Concerto No. 3”, and modern works by Grainger and Dello Joio.
Are you a
budding French horn player? You
can test your chops with Brooks on the unique CD/sheet music combo Music For Brass Ensemble, published
by Music Minus One. The CD
contains two versions of the same piece of music, one with French horn, and
one without, but be forewarned:
Brooks Tillotson is a tough act to follow.
Frank Sinatra recordings
That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan
49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)
Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)
RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)