A Diary Of Rosa Lee Brooks: Alignment with Jimi Hendrix
In 2001, when I met a Blues artist named Rosa Lee Brooks on Blackplanet.com, I had no idea what an enormous legacy I had encountered. We were all in a music forum that supported Black Rockers. She was always the sage-voice that kept us educated and informed. In 2002 she personally inboxed me (what they now call DM) to simply give support to the birth of my Rock career. I went to her page to read her bio and witnessed an eye full of narrations that changed my perception of what I thought I knew about Jimi Hendrix and it left me pondering: who is this Rosa Lee Brooks?
When she invited me to perform at The Gaslight in Santana Monica, CA I went to Los Angeles ready to learn. “Let’s go to the way back machine”, as Rosa would say.
Rosa’s story captivated me. She blossomed creatively as a child planted in music, with the overflow of musicians in her household then and now. Some how she was always aligned with guitar energy that started with her dad and brother. Rosa was a child prodigy. She played piano and took to the guitar as well. Being amidst the best musicians in her community introduced her to the legendary Johnny “Guitar” Watson at the age of 15. He heard the gift of her voice and she instantly became his protégé. He took Rosa to her first Blues gig, which helped to set the stage for her intriguing future.
In the early 60’s Rosa was a dancer and recording artist; igniting her career with chart climbing songs. She sung with Los Angeles girl group The Ribbons and worked/co-wrote with the Legendary Willie Hutch (Soul City Records). As I connect the timeline, Jimi Hendrix was playing with bands like the Isley Brothers and soon Little Richard around that time. I’m starting to see how the Universe planned this meeting that would shift both of their journey’s. They were state lines apart sparkling flames of musical passion.
The alignment prevailed New Years Eve going into 1964. Little Richard was in town with his show featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar. That fate driven night led Rosa Lee Brooks to the Ike and Tina Tuner show in Los Angeles, CA and destiny allured Jimi Hendrix there as well. Once their paths crossed, an instant connection was made and they rode off into the Sunset Blvd.
Yet again the guitar drew in the captivating bliss of Rosa’s voice. This time it was transformed into butterflies and heart shaped emotions (at the Wilcox hotel where Jimi was staying) that gave birth to “My Diary” and “Utee” (that displayed Jimi Hendrix first Rock solo) by Rosa Lee Brooks and Jimi Hendrix. She goes down in history as the only woman he ever had a relationship with and recorded music with. They wanted to be the next Ike and Tina. It was a brief, yet potent meeting of souls and music that lives in Rosa to this day. You can see it at her shows. She still performs in Los Angeles, CA, doing her famous jam session with notable musicians worldwide. You can feel that vibe on West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (released November 16, 2010), where her songs with Jimi Hendrix now live, but most of all it’s under the turquoise stone over her heart.
Rosa went on manifesting her-story by starting her first band in 1966. She has been in a working band ever since. She also pays it forward by mentoring artist worldwide (including myself). Jimi Hendrix went on to New York City, started his legendary career in London with the Experience and Band Of Gypsys down the line. An abundance of life happened between them and separately. November 18, 1970 Jimi (James Marshall) Hendrix passed on (may he continue to Rest In Power). The majestic connection Rosa Lee Brooks had with Jimi Hendrix motivates her to uplift his legacy, while continuing to live in her historic truth.
Here is my interview with Rosa Lee Brooks. I captured this priceless footage while I was in Los Angeles, CA January 2019 (for NAMM).
Follow Rosa Lee Brooks on her social media channels. Get in formation with all the “Jiminess”, as she calls it. Next time she has a show in L.A. you have to have to check her out. Her long-running band The Brooks Project is phenomenal!
PART TWO coming on Rosa’s Birthday October 16th 2020
R.I.Power Jimi Hendrix November 27 ,1942 – September 18, 1970
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