[JPL] Jack Brokensha

Dick Crockett bopndick at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 1 03:24:02 EDT 2010

Then I Said” was an LP recorded in 1963 on Savoy Records by the
Jack Brokensha Quartet with Howard Lucas, piano, Danny Jordan, bass
and Art Mardigan, drums. It was part of an extensive series (MG
12080) 12 “ LP of jazz recordings that are still in the then
immense Savoy jazz library.  If it still exits.
jazz classics are filed away in the dusty old archives of bygone
record companies. Although I'm not saying that Savoy Records is gone,
for they've been rebirthed, no doubt, still have a large cache of bop
/ jazz recordings, somewhere.
Then I
saw from Mark Stryker's obit in the Detroit Free Press of Jack
Brokensha's passing and vividly recalled my connection with him.
It was
1965. I was a student with a mass communication, major with a
literature / journalism minor  at Wayne State University. 

hosted a two hour jazz show  on WQRS-FM, a listener supported radio
station. It was the early days of  FM radio, when sets in use were
very limited to any one who had a Grundig radio-when FM in car radio
sets were nil!  And the freedom to be creative, to  do live
broadcasts was a constant in those days, a rare thing in corporate
media, nowadays.
We had
a collection of Jack Brokensha LP's from his days with the Australian
Jazz Quintet, a band of Australian and American jazz musicians, Jack
Brokensha, vibes, Bryce Rohde, piano Dick Healy and or  Erroll
Buddle, reeds, Frank Capp, drums and Jim Garrison, bass. 

recall playing this one particular LP, “And Then I Said” that was
in the library because Jack used to host a show on the station.
Jack Brokensha opened a restaurant on Lothrup,  two blocks away from
the GM building and the Fisher building in the New Center Area of

decided to do a two hour nightly remote broadcast. I hosted the first
hour, spinning records on the main floor. We switched then to the
second hour, where Jack Brokensha would perform with his quartet,
Bess Boniar,. Piano, Danny Jordan, bass and Jerry McKensie, drums and
occasionally Ursula Walker as vocalist. 

From my
view, it was one of those moments, that seem to happen every night in
a venue where musicians would appear in town and prominent Detroit
symphony orchestra musicians would sit in with the band. 

recall J.C. Heard and Frank Isola would try their taste.  It was a
regular thing in those days, that now is more memorable, for the
music has changed so much. 

Brokensha was very much a part of the Detroit scene in those days.
Whether it was a performance with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  or
a Motown session at the Universal Studios on Second Avenue, or a
jingle session for Jam Handy, where Jerry Bruckheimer sewed his oats,
or a Campbell Ewald Chevy ad for General Motors, Jack Brokensha, for
all his 5 foot six frame, was constantly on the go, packing his van
and running off to various gigs around the city.
remember those moments and other memories of a man so generous with
his time.
it's Detroiters, who really appreciate his contributions to the music
I most
remember the out of print, “And Then I Said” LP on Savoy Records
and the best version of  Randy Weston ,“Little Niles”  I ever

Brokensha's vibraphone was a slow tempo, a rondo that still
reverberates my soul,  today. 


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