South Florida saxophonist, flautist, and Tabla drummer Richard Brookens is even busier than his listing of instruments indicates. Between work with guitarist Randy Bernsen and his own groups - the percussion and woodwind-based ensemble Yellow Bell, his self-titled jazz trio, and the Duo DADA pairing with his wife, Barbara Sloan - Brookens finds time to direct the "Second Sunday Concert Series" in Davie, FL. "It’s music, performance art, dance, and theater, all in one evening," Brookens says, "kind of a world-beat, avant-garde variety show. There's nothing else like it in South Florida."
[ Bill Meredith, Jazziz magazine, Dec., 2001 ]
Language Arts - Richard Brookens is quite the musical talker.
...Brookens has engaged in many a deep musical conversation, not only with sitarists, percussionists and oud players but with dancers, yoga students, even, he says, a good thunderstorm.
The sounds produced by Yellow Bell are the epitome of world music. Take, for instance, a piece titled "Dizi Gigue," on which the group combines a melody reminiscent of an Irish jig played on a Chinese bamboo flute, called a dizi, with the violin-playing and scat-singing of Nicole Yarling, as the rhythm is laid down by Indian tablas.
...Brookens met his wife, the actress and dancer Barbara Sloan, at a midnight jam session 10 years ago. Together they form the music, dance and performance-art team of Duo Dada. Last year, the couple, both of whom teach yoga, got a grant to produce a piece for Miami Light Project's 2002 Here and Now Festival. Based on the first chakra, it focused on issues of security, relationships and family. For next year's festival, scheduled in March, they're working on a 15-minute piece about sexuality and creativity. The multimedia work will feature dance, video and rhythmically layered recordings of their interviews with artists, musicians, cancer patients and other people.
Duo Dada uses abstraction to explore the connection between two people and look at the state of art today. "A lot of art has gotten so commercial," Brookens argues. "Artists have lost the opportunity or inclination to expand themselves or challenge their audience."
[ Colleen Dougher, City Link ]