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George Brooks: Global Conversations

By Published: March 26, 2012
AAJ: Do you connect with Indian music at a spiritual level?

GB: I think I do, but I don't subscribe to any particular religion. My family is Jewish and that's culturally interesting and important to me. I think there are good messages in a lot of the good books of the different religions, but I think there are a lot of really big problems with organized religion. I understand why people are attracted to it, because it gives them a sense of purpose. My guru was very deeply spiritual. He was raised a Hindu but worshiped as both a Hindu and a Muslim. He would do Pooja every day, but he would say the names of both Allah and Bhagwan. He was very Sufi in that way. He was raised a Hindu Brahman and ran away from home at a very young age and took up with a Muslim music teacher.

So, I've seen how music and musicians have been able to cross all sorts of boundaries. At the end of the day, I would say that I'm a humanist musician. One of the things music is for me is a form of personal study and exploration. I love performing, but it's just as thrilling to practice too. It can make me feel just as good if I feel I learned or saw something I hadn't experienced before. Writing music is a magical thing. Sometimes I think I haven't written that much music, but I look over at the shelf and see a bunch of CDs I've put out. Writing is so interesting because you have notes and sounds, and then you decide "Okay, I'm going to coalesce them into a piece of music." And by performing that piece, you breathe life into it, so it's a spiritual practice. You're penetrating into the mysteries that surround us and trying to find the things that connect us together.

Selected Discography

Elements, Elements (Earth Brother, 2011)

George Brooks Summit, Spirit and Spice (Earth Brother, 2010)

Steve Smith, George Brooks and Prasanna, Raga Bop Trio (Abstract Logix, 2010)

George Brooks, Summit (Earth Brother, 2002)

George Brooks, Night Spinner (Moment Records, 1998)

George Brooks, Lasting Impression (Moment Records, 1996)

Photo Credits

Pages 1 (Brooks), 6: Irene Young

Pages 1 (Elements), 2, 4: Courtesy of George Brooks
George Brooks
George Brooks


Page 3: Stuart Brinnin

Page 5: Gerry Walden

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