Tina Brooks (1932–1974) was an American tenor saxophonist and composer, who is considered an overlooked yet authentic hard bop master, whose career has enjoyed posthumous acclaim.

Tina Brooks

Brooks was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and moved to New York in the mid-1940s. After cutting his teeth with Lionel Hampton, he appeared as a sideman on several Blue Note sessions, including those of Jimmy Smith and Kenny Burrell. Brooks also guested on and contributed songs to Freddie Hubbard’s debut solo album “Open Sesame”, before his own official debut as bandleader, “True Blue”, came out in 1960. This would be one of Brooks’ last recording dates unfortunately, and he died in 1974. However, posthumous releases have cemented his reputation as one of hard bop’s finest and most underrated tenormen.