The Detroit Blues Society Blues Heritage Series presents saxman McKinley “Kenny” Brinkley with the Rootsologists from 2-5 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Scarab Club, 217 Farnsworth in Detroit.
Brinkley, 78, is a Detroit native who played his first gigs in 1954 at Phelps Lounge with pianist/bandleader Teddy Harris Jr. After being drafted by the U.S. Army in 1955, he ended up joining other black musicians to form a band that played at military bases around Europe for the next two years.
Following his military service, Brinkley performed at clubs around Detroit with artists such as Harris, Little Willie John, Joe Weaver, Alberta Adams and Don Davis.
In the ‘60s, he spent several short periods of time with The Motor Town Revue, which performed on concert tours of Motown artists. This led to Brinkley being on the famed recording of Stevie Wonder's “Fingertips” at The Regal Theater in Chicago in 1962.
In the late ‘60s, he joined with trumpeter Herbie Williams to form a quintet called The Decoys, with Don Whitehead on drums, Leonard McIntyre on bass and Earnest Wilson on piano. Later, Brinkley formed a band called KB + 3, with Nate Shepard on organ, James Brown on drums, and various guitar players.
Brinkley later played with bluesman Kenny Miller and, in 1996, joined the Back Door Blues Band.
At the Scarab Club, he’ll be backed by the Rootsologists, featuring Dan Devins (vocals/harmonica), George Friend (guitar/vocals), Mike Marshall (bass) and RJ Spangler (drums).
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