Wayne Baker Brooks
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Wayne Baker Brooks

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
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"The State of the Blues"

Author: DAVE HOEKSTRA   
Date: May 31, 1998
Publication: Chicago Sun-Times
Featuring Wayne Baker Brooks, Shirley Dixon, Fruteland jackson, & Deidra Farr

Full Text Coming Soon! - Chicago Suntimes


"The Glamorous Life"

From best seats to worst, fans 'just glad to be here'

July 16, 2003

BY LUCIO GUERRERO AND DAVE NEWBART Staff Reporters

The glamorous life

Sox fans recognized for a game as big as this, ordinary tailgating wouldn't do. Christina Erickson of Grayslake and her relatives normally grill chicken or hamburgers before Sox games, but Tuesday they cooked up lobster and filet mignon and washed it down with a fine Merlot.

"If you are going to tailgate at the All-Star Game, you've got to tailgate in style,'' Erickson said.

Gov. Blagojevich autographed baseballs near the third base dug-out before the game. But he felt a little funny about it.

"If I had my druthers I'd be a ballplayer,'' said the state's top politician, noting, however, he was far from an all-star athlete.

"As a kid, I couldn't hit a curveball, fastball or slowball," he said. "If only they could see me bat they wouldn't ask for it.''

Blues greats Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks and his son Wayne Baker Brooks treated the crowd to "Sweet Home Chicago'' before play began.

"A lot of blues players in Chicago love baseball,'' said Wayne Brooks, who recalled coming to Sox games as a kid with free tickets he got for having good grades and perfect attendance. But one year he didn't get the free tickets.

"I had ditched school to come to a game,'' he said. - Chicago SunTimes


"Making blues music is a Brooks family affair"

Fridays' Weekend Plus Section of the Suntimes:
Featured - Wayne Baker Brooks
Making blues music is a Brooks family affair
Author: Jeff Johnson   
Date: March 23, 2001
Publication: Chicago Sun-Times

Full Text Coming Soon! - Chicago Sun-Times


"MLB Allstar Game"

Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks and his son Wayne Baker Brooks will be playing in the big leagues tonight (July 15). The blues trio is due to perform prior to the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at the U.S. Cellular Park in Chicago.

Also before the contest gets underway, Vanessa Carlton will be on hand to deliver the National Anthem, while Michael Buble will perform the Canadian national anthem. And come seventh-inning stretch time, this year's festivities won't hear singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but "God Bless America" by Amy Grant.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

- BillBoard.com


"Variety the key to `must sees'"

Variety the key to `must sees'
Author: Jeff Johnson   
Date: June 9, 2000
Publication: Chicago Sun-Times
Page: 11

So much blues and so little time to figure which acts to enjoy over the next three days in Grant Park. The following acts are must-sees for the 17th annual Chicago Blues Fest:

"Baker Brooks Family," 1-2 p.m. today, Juke Joint; Wayne Baker Brooks, 2:30-4 p.m. today, Gibson Guitar Crossroads; Ronnie Baker Brooks, 4:30-6 p.m. today, Gibson Guitar Crossroads. The family celebration begins with one of Chicago's blues treasures, Lonnie Brooks - Chicago Sun-Times


"Blues For Dummies This Ain’t by Vincent Abbate"

Blues For Dummies This Ain’t, (02/02/05)

This is a cracking good debut record!
It starts with a crisp, understated title track. A blend of dense rhythms, elements of contemporary R&B, and the slightest trace
of Hip Hop. The catchy, Family Stone-inflected Funk workout "Baby Stop" follows - plenty of snap once again from drummer
Matt Walker and the rest of the crew. "Exiled," the third track on the CD, is a confidently delivered, touching ballad. All three
bear the mark of a road-toughened pro that knows what it takes to get a crowd moving.

Wayne Baker Brooks has the résumé. Son of veteran Chicago Bluesman Lonnie Brooks and co-author of the Blues entry in the
popular For Dummies series of reference books, Wayne and his brother Ronnie (who handles rhythm guitar duties on Mystery)
soaked up the Blues at home and in Windy City nightclubs. Later, the guitar-slinging siblings logged thousands of miles as
members of Lonnie's road band. The elder Brooks turns up on Mystery, too, trading solos with his son on a song called "It
Don't Work Like That."

But this is Wayne's record. He wrote or co-wrote all thirteen songs and it's an impressive batch. He writes lean, modern urban
Blues, liberally and boldly mixing styles and technologies. There are DJ and programming credits on Mystery, but they don't
overwhelm the music. "Ain't That Lovin' You" sits atop a smooth wash of synthetic bass, with Brooks' edgy vocal and Bluesy
guitar hooks giving the song bite. "She's Dangerous" sounds like Robert Palmer writing for the Stones (a sort of Blues "Addicted
To Love"). "Nu Kinda Blues" features the scratching of DJ Ajax, the Blues harp of Ben Ruth, and hijacked ZZ Top riffs over
programmed rhythm and is aimed straight at the kid with the baggy jeans who's never heard of the Blues - referred to here as
the hip-sounding "Chicago Style."

After the rock 'em, sock 'em lead guitar duel with Lonnie, a pair of great horn-driven songs breathe new life into the album at a
point where, generally, artists begin to run out of ideas. The firecracker groove of "You Make It Easy, Baby" is another
highlight. Only "Tell Me" has a throwaway feel to it and should have landed on the cutting room floor - if only because it pales
next to the stronger material.

Mystery is almost guaranteed not to please purists. Wayne Baker Brooks may have grown up close to the mother lode, yet he's
mining the musical regions most Blues artists consider a no-go zone, and doing it well. I suspect he'll get even better.

Vincent Abbate is a contributing editor at BluesWax

- BluesWax.com


"CD Review - By Michael Cote"

"Wayne Baker Brooks and his brother, Ronnie, picked up the family trade playing alongside their father, Lonnie Brooks.
Wayne has earned stripes both in his father's band and on his own, and his debut album has been a long time coming, but it's
well worth the wait: The guitarist and singer arrives a fully developed talent and a maverick whose distinct brand of blues
incorporates elements of rock, R&B, funk, and even a trace of hip-hop. Mystery delivers mainstream appeal without betraying
the family legacy. The midtempo title track establishes Brooks as someone not content to repeat the same old thing, and though
purists might mistake the slick production as an attempt at being radio-friendly, what they'd be missing is a song with a
memorable hook and a great, drama-building midsection. Brooks proves nearly as good a singer as he is a guitar player, full of
grit and soul.

It's hard to imagine rock fans not appreciating the ballad 'Exiled' or the techno-boogie of 'Nu Kinda Blues'. The latter track,
fueled by guest harmonica player Ben Ruth, features a guitar riff that recalls ZZ Top's MTV years. ('Do the Muddy Waters and
dance!' Brooks commands.) In case anyone doubts Brooks' commitment to his roots, he follows with the more traditional 'It
Don't Work Like That', a tongue-in-cheek song about the school of hard knocks that features old-school solos from his father,
Ronnie, who contributes rhythm guitar through most of the disc, joins the vocal chorus. The elder Brooks seems to have taught
his sons not just how to play, sing and lead bands, but how to blaze their own trails. Listen to this Mystery unfold and reveal its
secrets."
- Blues Review Magazine


"Live Review - Wayne Baker Brooks"

Live Review
Wayne Baker Brooks
Minnesota Music Café, St. Paul
December 17, 1999
by Ray Stiles
Photography copyright © 2000 by Tom Asp, all rights reserved
1999 KBA Award Winner
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation



Coming from a musical family, such as Wayne Baker Brooks does, can be a two edged sword. Wayne's father is the famous Lonnie Brooks and his brother, Ronnie Baker Brooks is creating a name on his own now. On the one hand people can have unrealistic expectations of the second generation compared to the first but on the other hand, the next generation can learn from the wealth of experience they are surrounded by and grow into their own unique talent. The later seems to be the case with Wayne. Surrounded by his dad's music his whole life and exposed to the influences of the seminal blues players from Chicago when he was growing up, Wayne has developed an impressive guitar style that incorporates the best of traditional and modern day Chicago blues. It is interesting to note that Wayne didn't start to play the guitar until he was twenty years old. That may seem surprising, especially when you hear him play, because he has an excellent feel for the music and a natural talent for the guitar. Actually it was a lot of hard work and very long hours practicing that has led to his guitar skill. By the way, Wayne said he has an eleven year old son who is also playing the guitar, so it won't be long before we will be hearing from the third generation of Brooks.


This show at the Minnesota Music Café just before Christmas was the first performance in Minnesota for Wayne with his own band. He has played here often with his Dad Lonnie and with his brother Ronnie so we had an inkling of what to expect. In reality the inkling may have been off the mark. Wayne Baker Brooks is a bluesman who not only knows how to play guitar and sing with the skill and experience of a pro but he also is rapidly developing the poise and stage presence of a good band leader.

Featuring a 6-piece band with a trumpet and trombone horn section, Brooks played a variety of blues standards including "The Blues Is Alright" and "Born Under a Bad Sign" as well as several originals showcasing his budding songwriting talent. Prefacing one of his own songs he said, "we like that raw dog blues," as he launched into a slow blues burner with some extended guitar solos. He also played out in the audience, as his dad does at each of his shows, getting up on a chair and playing the guitar behind his neck. After a long break Bernard Allison who was in the audience came up and jammed with Wayne during the second set. When they got to cooking, things really heated up. This was one of those moments that you can't plan, they just happen and when they do, you are just glad you were there being a part of it. It was serendipity!

- MNBlues.com


"CD Review - "MYSTERY""

Mystery Receives 4 stars from ALL Music Guide
Review by Sean Westergaard
By the time Wayne Baker Brooks released his debut album, he had played the blues in Lonnie Brooks' band for almost 15 years, served as a roadie for two years before that, and led his own band for seven years (in addition to still playing with his dad). Clearly, he did not rush into a recording career. Instead, he paid his dues and took the time to find his own voice: a course a less savvy bluesman might not have made, especially considering Brooks' family legacy. It was a wise decision, because Mystery is not just a strong debut, it's a fully formed new vision that updates the sound of the blues without falling into the same tired blues-rock clichés. Instead, Brooks adds some soul, funk, and even a little hip-hop to his solid blues foundation and comes up with a great set of all-original tunes.

Right from the opening title cut, you know this isn't your standard blues album. It opens with a tremoloed Fender Rhodes vamp with an acoustic rhythm guitar doing one thing in one ear and an electric doing something else in the other. And, are those turntables in the mix?! Yep, but it's a subtle touch like so many others throughout the album (and they're judiciously used on just two cuts). Brooks is a strong, soulful singer; he's got a big, meaty Gibson tone; and his solos often don't go where you're expecting them to. The production is crisp without being slick, and it's got a nice open mix. Brooks knew what he wanted from the tunes, and his arrangements are impressive. Hammond here, Clavinet there, horns on a couple tracks, some tasty slide, and well-done backing vocals all add variety, but Brooks' singing and guitar playing are always the focus. He's equally at home on uptempo numbers ("Sooner or Later," "It Don't Work Like That") as he is on the slower numbers like the soulful "Exiled." He brings a bit of the funk to "Baby Stop," and "Nu Kinda Blues" is just what it says with its pumping bass, scratching, and killer harmonica playing over a ZZ Top-style groove. But despite these additional influences, Brooks is a bluesman to the core, albeit a very modern one, and that becomes clear every time he starts playing his guitar (and check out the exchanges with Lonnie on "It Don't Work Like That"). Mystery is not just a great album; it marks Wayne Baker Brooks as someone to keep an eye on as the blues enter the 21st century. As Wayne himself said, "Blues purists might not get my music but blues has to breathe fresh air sometimes." Amen to that.

Mystery features:

Wayne Baker Brooks (Brooks Clan): lead/rhytym guitar, lead vocals

Ronnie Baker Brooks: (Brooks Clan) rhythm guitar
Schuyler Deale: (Michael Bolton, Billy Joel, Foreigner) bass
Jeff Jacobs: (Foreigner, Billy Joel) keyboards
Matt Walker: (Smashing Pumpkins, Filter) drums

Special Guest:
Lonnie Brooks Courtesy of Alligator Records
Ronnie Baker Brooks appears courtesy of Watchdog Records

Produced by Jeff Jacobs/Big Dog Bites - All Music Guide


"CD Review by Dave "Doc" Piltz"

Guitarist/songwriter Wayne Baker Brooks is the younger of the two guitar playing sons of bluesman Lonnie Brooks. While Lonnie's elder son, Ronnie Baker Brooks has performed as a solo artist for some time after serving his "apprenticeship" as a member of Lonnie's band, Wayne has only recently stepped out on his own to test the waters of a solo career. With a live performance for the former First Lady and now U. S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton under his belt and a life that has included an appearance as an extra in Blues Brothers 2000 (check out the scene at Willie's Strip Club) and as a co-author of the blues reference guide, Blues for Dummies, Wayne has certainly lived a full and varied life in a rather short period of time.
With his solo career now underway, it only makes sense that Wayne Baker Brooks have a solo recording to help him get started. At a recent live appearance, I was able to pick up a copy of Wayne Baker Brooks debut release, Mystery, which will be officially released in August (although you can pick up copies on Wayne's website at www.waynebakerbrooks.com). In spite of Wayne's warning that the recording was probably more rock-oriented than blues, upon actually listening to Mystery, I found the recording to contain a nice mix of styles including rock, Texas and Chicago blues, along with a bit of funk and soul. Many times sounding more like his father than his older brother, Wayne seems to be well on his way to establishing his own style with music that is very listenable. Wayne had a hand in the writing and arrangement of all thirteen songs on the CD, which also includes a guest appearance by Lonnie Brooks and rhythm guitar by Ronnie Baker Brooks on all but one song ("Just Like A Butterfly").

Mystery opens with the CD's title track, co-written by Wayne with Bruce McCabe and Jeff Jacobs. The song has a drum driven sound and offers the first glimpse at Wayne Baker Brook's prowess as a solo guitarist with some hot licks filling out the sound. Other highlights on the recording include the soulful sound of "Exiled" which offers some nice slide guitar by guest player, Jon Spiegel (Jon also appears on the following number, "Ain't That Loving You") and the funky cool of "She's Dangerous" with Wayne's burning guitar taking the forefront at the break. "Nu Kinda Blues" is an interesting song that offers numerous elements of the funked out hypno-blues performed by R. L. Burnside in his collaborations with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The inclusion of the DJ and the reoccurring harmonica-based reprise definitely gives the song an electrified Mississippi Hill Country sound. Careful listeners might also pick up a notable ZZ Top riff in the song.

At the halfway point of Mystery, Lonnie Brooks makes a guest appearance in support of Wayne on "It Don't Work Like That." This is one of the more bluesy tracks on the CD and includes trade offs on lead solos between Wayne and Lonnie and a vocal chorus performed by Wayne, Lonnie and Ronnie Baker Brooks. Throughout the song Lonnie and Wayne trade riffs and comments that make the song particularly entertaining. The following number, "Your Turn (To Talk To The Blues)" is an excellent horn-heavy number, with an interesting rhythm and lots of hard-hitting guitar by Wayne.

As Mystery moves towards its conclusion, the song choices continue to exhibit a variety of feelings and styles. "Sooner or Later" is probably one of the harder-edged songs on the CD with a driving riff and tough sounding lead guitar by Wayne. "You Make It Easy Baby" is a high powered, up tempo workout including more flaming guitar and intricate rhythms. "Just Like A Butterfly" is an interesting number, appearing to be the most instrumentally stripped down song on the CD. The song has a nice tune and some image-filled lyrics about a woman flitting quickly from lover to lover, leaving each wanting more. The CD closes out with "Root Of My Soul", leaving listeners on a more rock-oriented, but definitely a strong note regarding the talents Wayne Baker Brooks.

Mystery, the debut solo release by Wayne Baker Brooks definitely has my recommendation for anyone who likes their blues with a harder edge. Brook's guitar is every bit as strong as his father and older brother and the music has a feeling that Wayne can hopefully continue to develop into his own signature style. Check it out, I think you will like it.

www.waynebakerbrooks.com <

- MNBlues.com


Discography

2001 Sweet Emotion: The Songs of Aerosmith
Label: Heavy Hip Mama
Release Date: Jun 19, 2001
Rating: 2 stars

2003 Genuine Houserockin' Christmas
Label: Alligator Records
Release Date: Sep 16, 2003
Rating: 3 Stars

2004 Wayne Baker Brooks "Mystery"
Label: Blues Island Records
Release Date: Oct 26, 2004
Rating: 4 stars

2011 (Single) Something's Going Down ft. Twista, GLC, SB
Label: Blues Island Records
Release Date: Feb. 15, 2011
Rating: 4 Stars

2011 (Single) Changeling
Label: Blues Island Records
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Rating: 4 stars


Photos

Bio

Wayne Baker Brooks serves notice of a new powerful force at play in the music world. Combining outstanding song craft, passionate vocals, and a liquid fire guitar style, this talented artist manages to honor his rich blues heritage while effortlessly expanding the boundaries of the genre.

Born and raised in Chicago, IL amongst the most prolific blues legends and blues masters in the world, Wayne Baker Brooks blues roots may run deeper and wider than the Great Lake Michigan itself, but this truly innovating artist knows no creative boundaries.

Chicago Blues laid the foundation to Wayne's innovative style. A regular visitor (as a child) at places such as Chess Studios, Checkerboard Lounge, Wisefools, and many other blues landmarks as well as witnessing many live performances by blues masters like Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells, Luther Allsion, KoKo Taylor, the great Muddy Waters, & his father, the youngest son of blues master Lonnie Brooks was born with the blues, for real! There was or is no way getting around the fate that was appointed to him.

Failed attempts at being a sports star resulted in a broken foot, twice broken right ankle, broken finger. "Its was God telling me this is not what you're suppose to be doing, I had to figure out the hard way that i'm on this earth to make people smile, laugh, dance, and hopefully feel good through music. So never block your blessing or God will let you know how he feels about it", says Wayne.

With the release of his debut CD "Mystery" in 2004 an album of comtemporary blues at it's best draws on blues, blues rock, soul, funk, & even a bit of hip hop. "Mystery" received multiple awards and accolades including a 4 star review in the All Music Guide.

In addition to releasing his debut he was featured on several TV news programs (including CNN's "Showbiz"), multiple radio programs (including Mancow Morning Show), performed the 2003 MLB All Star Game @ Chicago White Sox Celluar Field, & even performed for the First Lady of the United States Hilary Rodham Clinton at Chess Studios (Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation) in Chicago with legends Bo Diddley, KoKo Taylor, & his dad as his special guest while Chuck Berry was in attendance. As the conclusion of the band's explosive set, Hillary pronounced, "My husband is going to be so jealous he missed this!".

He joined his father's band (Lonnie Brooks) as a roadie in 1988, and started playing guitar in the band in 1990. In 1997, he formed the Wayne Baker Brooks Band while continuing to work with his father's band. In 1998, in addition to appearing in the film Blues Brothers 2000, he also co-wrote Blues for Dummies with his father and Cub Koda, earning his first Real Blues magazine award (Keeping the Blues Alive) for the effort.

AWARDS
"Carrying The Torch Award"

"Top Blues Stars of the Future Award"

"Best Chicago Blues Guitar Award"

"Best New Chicago Blues Talent/Male Award"

CREDITS
Changeling, 2011 (Blues Island Records – Single): Executive Producer, Vocals

Something’s Going Down, 2011 (Blues Island Records -­- Single): Executive Producer, Composer, Vocals, and Guitar

The Otherside, 2010 (Copycats Records): Producer -­- Leaving the Bayou

Mystery, 2004 (Blues Island Records): Composer, Arranger, Vocals, Soloist, and Guitar

Genuine Houserockin’ Christmas, 2003 (Alligator Records): Guitar

Sweet Emotion: The Songs of Aerosmith, 2001 (Heavy Hip Mama Records): Guitar