Guitarist Roger Brotherhood has been a professional musician since 1966. He attended the University of Wisconsin for two years as a journalism major, and graduated with honors from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree. He has taught professionally for over 30 years, and has extensive experience recording, playing in clubs and shows, leading his own jazz groups, conducting workshops and clinics, and playing solo. He has appeared as guitarist with Diahann Carroll, the Drifters, Harold Minerve (of the Duke Ellington Orchestra). Rita Moreno, Bobby Rydell, Vic Damone, Al Martino, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Mickey Rooney, Donald O’Connor, Rich Little, John Gary, Tommy Tune, and many others. He has also played for theater productions such as A Chorus Line, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jaques Brel Is Alive And Well …, Cabaret and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Roger has played often with the Milwaukee Symphony, the Madison Symphony, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, with whom he was featured at the world premier of the Symphony Of Two Worlds.
He was Artist in Residence at Verona High School for two years, and he has conducted successful improvisation workshops in association with the Isthmus Jazz Festival and at area high schools. Currently Roger is involved in the ACE program, sponsored by the Milwaukee Symphony. Along with vocalist and storyteller Adekola Adedapo and bassist John Babbitt, the Milwaukee Jazz Connection tours the Milwaukee Public Schools each year presenting an interactive, high energy program introducing first grade children to jazz, blues and African American music history.
Roger has taught privately since 1980, working with beginners as well as advanced players. His students have gone on to excel in jazz programs at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, North Texas State University, William Paterson College (with Rufus Reid), the University of Oregon, and other colleges.
Early experience in blues bands (opening for the likes of B.B. King, Albert King, Bobby Bland, Junior Wells, Major Lance and Freddie King), playing gospel music with the Gospel Belles and the New Zion Baptist Choir, and laying down R&B with The Charmers, of Boston, led to his love of jazz music. This culminated in Roger’s four years of study at the Wisconsin Conservatory where he studied with Tony King, guitarists Manty Ellis and Jack Grassel, saxophonist Hattush Alexander, and multi-instrumentalist Kenny Danish. He also studied privately with guitarist Roy Plumb, a former student of the great George Van Eps. More recently he has studied with virtuoso New York guitarist Paul Bollenback.
Over the years his jazz groups have been featured at the Isthmus Jazz Festival, the Art Fair On The Square, and live radio broadcasts from WORT. His duo with pianist Jane Reynolds appeared at the Ovens of Brittany in Shorewood for two consecutive years, and they were featured playing their original material on the locally produced TV series On The Town. Roger’s quartet was a monthly tradition at The City Bar in downtown Madison for six years running.
Roger performed for many years with Madison trumpeter Doc DeHaven while living in Madison. Currently living in the Milwaukee area, he performed regularly with saxophone master Berkeley Fudge. He can be heard with vocalist Adekola Adedapo, drummer Sam Belton, bassist John Babbitt, saxophonist Winfield Gaylor, trumpeter Eric Jacobson, drummer/organist Jeno Somlai, Latin percussionist Luis Diaz, and many other local jazz musicians, in addition to freelancing in the Milwaukee/Madison area and leading his own duos, trios, and quartets. Recently Roger reunited with world renowned blues harmonica player Jim Liban and now plays occasionally with the Jim Liban Blues Combo. He also maintains a busy schedule teaching at The Guitar Studio, both in Madison and Milwaukee.