Richard Brookens BioRichard is an arranger/composer and multi-instrumentalist performing on saxophones (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone), flutes (C and Alto), and clarinets (Bb and Bass), Tabla drums (from India), Udu (Clay Pots), Native American Indian Flutes, and bamboo flutes from India (Bansuri) and China (Dizi).
During his musical career Richard has enjoyed studying and working in many different musical styles and settings: Jazz, Rock, Classical, Musical Theater, Flamenco, Indian, Japanese, and World Fusion. All of these have influenced his approach to composition and improvisation in his recordings and live performances with his World Fusion group Yellow Bell.
While in South Florida he has worked with Bailles Ferrer, a South Florida based Flamenco dance company, guitarist Randy Bernsen, (Jazz Fusion), and Duo DADA, an improvisatory dance/music performance art group. He has also been principal Saxophonist with the Palm Beach Pops. In addition to these groups Richard freelances with many other performing groups, including orchestras at Actor's Playhouse, New Vista Theater, Florida Atlantic University, The Broward Performing Arts Center, and The Kravis Performing Arts Center.
He has also performed Kirtans (devotional call and response gatherings), and Yoga workshops on Tablas, Clay Pot, Soprano Saxophone, and Bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) with Bhagavan Das and David Newman (most recently at Karmapalooza 2005), or Russill Paul, Wynne Paris, Jorge Alfano, Guru Das Singh, Guru Das Khalsa, Milk Baba, Sri VasuDeva, Krishna Devi, Ma Bha, Swami Srinivasananda, and local Kirtan artists like Laura DiBello, Mohini, Serpentine, Prem Shakti, and Jennifer Vasilakos. He has played with these artists at Satsangs or Kirtans held at South Florida Yoga studios like Yoga Warehouse, Something Yoga, Prem Yoga, Prana Yoga, Synergy Yoga, and Yoga Connection.
Richard has allowed music from his CDs to be used in a documentary film about the spiritual aspects of Judo, Karate, Tai-Kwan-Do, and Tai-Chi, titled 'The Empty Mind' produced by Jon Braely of Thin Media, Inc. in Miami Beach, FL. This film has footage and interviews never seen until now from the Shao-lin and Wu-Dang Temples in China in addition to the other major schools of martial arts in China and Japan. The Empty Mind won "Best Florida Film" in the 2004 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Music from his CDs has also been used in a production of Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' by Robert Hooker at Sol Theatre in Ft Lauderdale.
Richard has also composed music for a short film about the homeless called "The Park", and been the musical supervisor for another short film titled 'The Last Minute' both produced by Gilda Pianelli and Chasta Natour of Rev Films. His is the musical director and composer for the 2007 film "She", produced by Gilda Pianelli for Ambassodor Films. He also helped to re-orchestrate and rearrange music for a show about Nefertiti by Rick Gore, Christopher Gore, and David Spangler. In July of 2001 music from his CDs was featured in a play about refugee women from around the world called "Displaced" at Altered Stages, 212 W 29th St., NY, NY.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music where he majored in composition and studied with Joe Viola, Richard studied briefly with Joe Allard and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to study Jazz Improvisation with Charles Banacos. He later began his studies on Bansuri and Tabla at the Ali Akbar College of Indian Music in San Rafael, California.
In addition to the fine musicians above and on the Yellow Bell CDs, he has performed with: The Artie Shaw Orchestra, Cab Calloway, trumpeter Nat Adderly, pianist James Williams, Buddy Greco, Roy Clark, Boots Randolph, Tiny Tim, Clark Terry, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Hal Linden, Mary Street Dance Co., Lucie Arnaz, Jimmie Rosselli, Shirley Jones, Tony Orlando, and has worked in many recording studios as a player and arranger on records and commercials.
Born in Wichita, Kansas and growing up in upstate New York and the Washington, DC area, Richard now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He is also certified in Sivananda and Kundalini Yoga and teaches Yoga in the South Florida area at Barry University in Miami Shores, Yoga Connection in Plantation, The Hillsboro Club in Deerfield Beach, community centers in Pompano Beach, and Golds Gyms in Pompano Beach and Ft Lauderdale.
Listen to samples of Richard's work here.
Thanks to Richard for performing. See you at the reception.