Darryl Tookes

Darryl Tookes

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NewsDay

"He sings angelically, writes subtle songs about the nuances of romantic love, plays the piano...a gift for quietly uplifting melodies and a way with words that makes something meaningful out of the obvious." (Tim Robins, New York Newsday)

Artist, Composer & Arranger

Mr. Tookes was the pianist and musical director for In Performance at the White House–The Singer and the Song, a PBS Special. President Clinton personally congratulated him on the new life his arrangement brought to George and Ira Gershwin’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” That same year, he toured and recorded with Nile Rogers and Chic and recorded the sacred gospel epic Revelation with Judith Jameson for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Darryl has sung in Spanish with Mexico’s legendary Juan Gabriel, in French with superstar Patricia Kaas, and in Japanese with jazz great Katsumi Horii.

His television credits include the theme from The Guiding Light, his duet with Diva Gray, “Hold On To Love.” He has appeared on The David Letterman Show, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Saturday Night Live, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and a variety of television entertainment programs. His voice is also a favorite among Sesame Street fans. He also has the distinction of singing on two Grammy Award winning West Side Story albums, one, the last produced by Leonard Bernstein; the other produced by Dave Grusin.

An award winning composer and performer of vocal solos for ad campaigns, he has sung on literally thousands of spots for companies including AT&T, the U.S. Army, McDonald’s, Chrysler, Continental Airlines, Olive Garden, Miller Brewing, The NBA, New York Mets, Major League Baseball, Mobil Oil, Waldbaum’s, A&P, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, and Proctor and Gamble.

Darryl Tookes’ ancestry mingles Cherokee, African and European roots, and his musical talent comes from his maternal side. His grandmother Benveneta Washington was a star on Broadway, a Warner Bros. signee for film, and a vocal soloist with the Hall Johnson Choir, while his mother Leona Washington was a classical, jazz and sacred chanteuse, who left the stage for her family. Born in the Bronx, Darryl and his brother Hansel moved to Tallahassee with their parents when they were young boys. Their father, Hansel Tookes, is the legendary Florida A&M golf and football coach. After graduating from Florida A&M magna cum laude in physics.

Bio

Darryl Tookes composes, arranges, and performs music in the tradition of his heroes, maestros Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Michel LeGrand, Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach and Duke Ellington. He composes and sings songs about the things that matter: love, pain, joy, and loyalty. Wrapped in soaring melody and lyrics that go straight to the heart. Uplifting songs that make the spirit soar, romantic songs of loyalty between a man and a woman, haunting songs for the broken hearted, sexy songs that set the feet to dancing, peaceful songs that reassure the spirit, and gentle songs that bring men and women, boys and girls home to the goodness in their hearts.
With more than twenty years’ experience as a singer, pianist, composer and arranger, Mr. Tookes worked on Sting’s multiple Grammy award winning release Brand New Day and performed with its Europe 2000 tour. He has also worked with Elton John, Leonard Bernstein, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Vanessa Williams, Cristina Aquilera, Dave Grusin, Natalie Cole, Peter, Paul & Mary, George Benson, Gerry Mulligan, Nancy Wilson, Burt Bacharach, Dave Valentin, Vaneese Thomas, Korn, Luther Vandross, Toninho Horta, Darlene Love, Lionel Ritchie, Maya Angelou, Maxi Priest, Dionne Warwick, Carmen McRae, Hubert Laws, Laurie Anderson, Al Jarreau, Jewel, Teddy Pendergrass, Deniece Williams, Jennifer Holliday, and many others.
Mr. Tookes was the pianist and musical director for In Performance at the White House–The Singer and the Song, a PBS Special. President Clinton personally congratulated him on the new life his arrangement brought to George and Ira Gershwin’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” That same year, he toured and recorded with Nile Rogers and Chic and recorded the sacred gospel epic Revelation with Judith Jameson for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Darryl has sung in Spanish with Mexico’s legendary Juan Gabriel, in French with superstar Patricia Kaas, and in Japanese with jazz great Katsumi Horii.
His television credits include the theme from The Guiding Light, his duet with Diva Gray, “Hold On To Love.” He has appeared on The David Letterman Show, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Saturday Night Live, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and a variety of television entertainment programs. His voice is also a favorite among Sesame Street fans. He also has the distinction of singing on two Grammy Award winning West Side Story albums, one, the last produced by Leonard Bernstein; the other produced by Dave Grusin.
An award winning composer and performer of vocal solos for ad campaigns, he has sung on literally thousands of spots for companies including AT&T, the U.S. Army, McDonald’s, Chrysler, Continental Airlines, Olive Garden, Miller Brewing, The NBA, New York Mets, Major League Baseball, Mobil Oil, Waldbaum’s, A&P, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, and Proctor and Gamble.
Darryl Tookes’ ancestry mingles Cherokee, African and European roots, and his musical talent comes from his maternal side. His grandmother Benveneta Washington was a star on Broadway, a Warner Bros. signee for film, and a vocal soloist with the Hall Johnson Choir, while his mother Leona Washington was a classical, jazz and sacred chanteuse, who left the stage for her family. Born in the Bronx, Darryl and his brother Hansel moved to Tallahassee with their parents when they were young boys. Their father, Hansel Tookes, is the legendary Florida A&M golf and football coach. After graduating from Florida A&M magna cum laude in physics, Darryl forsook MIT and medical school for his musical career. Mr. Tookes lives in Connecticut with his wife and four children.

DARRYL TOOKES - BIOGRAPHY

Darryl Tookes is a versatile artist and craftsman of original music in his own unique style. Rich in melody, lush harmonies, form and lyrical content Darryl composes and sings songs about the things that matter: love, pain, joy and loyalty. Soaring melodies and lyrics that go straight to the heart. Uplifting songs that make the spirit soar, romantic songs of loyalty between a man and a woman, haunting songs for the broken hearted, sensual songs that touch the soul, sexy songs that set the feet to dancing, peaceful songs of reassurance.

An opus of epic poetry, of New England Morning, Tookes says, "It is a painting in which one sees through metaphor one's deepest passions, one's real self, one's distant dream. It's the acceptance that life is what you make it, that life can be beautiful, if only we are willing to see it that way. It's the paean of a very tired man who awakens from a dream and trusts that his life is yet worthwhile. And isn't that the real point?"

Tookes has been composing since he was eight years old. Music flows in his genes. Darryl's grandmother Benveneta Washington was a star on Broadway, signed to Warner Brothers for films, and a vocal soloist with the Hall Johnson Choir, while his mother Leona Washington was a classical, jazz and sacred song chanteuse who left the stage to raise her family. Darryl attributes his spirituality and singing voice to his mom, “She was my soul mate, my confidante, the person from whom I learned unconditional love.”

Born in New York City, the second of two boys, Darryl grew up in Tallahassee where his father Hansel Tookes, Athletic Director Emeritus of Florida A& M University is a legendary sports figure. Though Darryl was a scholastic basketball star, when he settles his sleek 6’6” frame at the piano, it is abundantly clear that music is where he belongs. Long wavy hair, exotic looks and a golden bronze complexion create the impression of a Cherokee spiritual-healer. His serene demeanor and remarkably slow resting pulse rate reveal his continued commitment to physical fitness. Inspired by his father, Darryl leads an active life which includes a daily mile swim. “My parents’ legacies cast a long shadow down the road of life for me, and I find peace in knowing this. That they are with me on my journey.”

Darryl graduated Florida A&M magna cum laude in physics, studied at MIT and was accepted into medical school, but music was his calling, his home, his universe. He moved to New York, lived with his grandfather and began to pursue his passion. Early projects with his childhood idol Todd Rundgren were the beginning of a career which now spans two decades and includes work performed across the musical spectrum. His discography includes six solo albums. A virtuoso who makes the most challenging seem effortless, Darryl’s music is exciting the classical-crossover genre with a fresh new aesthetic.

He has performed at the White House, toured with Sting, sung on two Grammy award winning West Side Story albums and worked with about every major performing and recording artist in the business. A four-octave range and perfect pitch, Darryl’s voice has helped to launch hundreds of award-winning ad campaigns.

All along, Darryl has stayed true to his inner voice and has continued to compose, arrange and perform music in the tradition of his heroes - Bernstein, Copland, LeGrand, Mancini, Bacharach, Ellington and Jobim. Personally, Darryl remains the man his colleagues and fans know and love: a loyal friend, an accomplished musician who extends a helping hand, a fun person with an easy way about him, and a deep thinker who celebrates music and life.

Mini Bio

Darryl worked on Sting’s Grammy award winning Brand New Day and performed with its Europe 2000 tour. He also has the distinction of singing on both Grammy Award winning West Side Story albums, one, the last produced by Leonard Bernstein; the other produced by Dave Grusin. Mr. Tookes was the pianist and musical director for In Performance at the White House–The Singer and the Song, a PBS Special. His voice is a favorite among Sesame Street fans. He recorded the sacred gospel epic Revelation with Judith Jameson for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Darryl has sung in Spanish with Mexico’s legendary Juan Gabriel, in French with superstar Patricia Kaas, and in Japanese with jazz great Katsumi Horii. He has also worked with Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Cristina Aquilera, Natalie Cole, Peter, Paul & Mary, George Benson, Burt Bacharach, Luther Vandross, Toninho Horta, Lionel Ritchie, and Maya Angelou, among others.

Press Releases

New England MorningPress Releases
November 17, 2003

New England Morning, a romantic Pop album featuring Darryl Tookes and Joseph Joubert was in the first cut for seven Grammy nominations. Released by New Canaan based, TBM Records in April 2003, the album has received recognition in the following categories: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year (“New England Morning”), Best Pop Duo or Group with Vocal (“Tomorrow’s Never Promised”), Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Instrumental Composition (“New England Morning” as performed by a live 65-piece orchestra), and Best Producer. Says TBM president/producer Tanya Bickley, “After all the back breaking work, choices and decisions, it was thrilling and humbling to read the Grammy ballot and see Darryl’s, Joseph’s and my work among so many talented musicians, composers, arrangers and producers. TBM has the highest hopes for the album and Darryl and Joseph’s success. Their beautiful music penetrates straight to the heart, so personal, so intimate.”

To quote Ambient Recording Company’s Mark Conese, “They are about as good as any two humans get.” When Tookes’ luminous voice and Joubert’s virtuoso piano unite in song, their melody transports listeners to “places I want to be.” Do they perform smooth jazz, romantic pop, sophisticated cabaret, love songs for orchestra, music for a mellow evening at home, music to calm the savage beast at work? All or one, it’s hard to choose. With talent and style that defy the confinement of niche, it’s more accurate to say, they are, quite simply, Tookes & Joubert.

New England Morning culminates their ten-year partnership as singer/composer and arranger/ accompanist. Arranged with the color and palette of a full orchestra in mind, the seven Tookes originals and five cover songs are expressive and conversational, vulnerable and honest, personal and intimate, each freshly painted by the Tookes/Joubert musical imagination. Darryl Tookes’ voice and Joseph Joubert’s piano pour out together, an elixir of liquid gold. The last bonus track features Tookes singing the title song, accompanied by Joubert and a 65-piece orchestra performing his lush and lyrical arrangement.

The album was recorded on Direct Stream Digital at Ambient Recording’s converted North Stamford, CT barn, whose studio’s surfaces are diffused with soft pine wood, hand painted with 15 layers of violin varnish. Mark Conese recorded Darryl Tookes with a Brauner microphone, custom designed and modified by Klaus Heyne, while Joseph Joubert performed on a Steinway D Concert Grand and was recorded using two Shure microphones. Ambient Audio Labs 1070A microphone pre-amplifiers were used exclusively throughout the recording.

For more information, go to www.newenglandmorning.com. New England Morning is available for purchase at the Gramophone Shop and Walter Stewart’s in New Canaan, The Harrel Shop in Darien, Sally’s Place in Westport, and at www.cdbaby.com and www.amazon.com.