Detroit Brooks

Guitarist and banjo player Detroit Brooks was born into a New Orleans musical family with deep roots in the Southern gospel traditions. His father, George A. Brooks, performed with the Masonic Kings, his brother Mark is a world-renowned bassist, while his sister Juanita toured extensively with her band, Juanita’s Gospel Express. Detroit came of age playing with his family’s acts, and with groups such as Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys, The Zion Harmonizers, and Raymond Myles and the Rams.
Brooks matured into a consummate musician who can skillfully move through various musical styles: traditional and contemporary jazz, funk, and rhythm and blues. He is an in-demand session player, and has toured around the world, most regularly, perhaps, as an essential member of The Charmaine Neville Band.

He has recorded and performed with a number of artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, and Eddie Bo, and can be heard in local clubs backing up the likes of Ike Stubblefield, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Donald Harrison, Jr. Though much of his work is as a sideman, he has released two albums, the 2010 On My Way Home and the  2014 Only At Christmas Time.

In recent years, Brooks has focused on song-writing and on community projects, particularly the New Orleans Guitar Extravaganza and the Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival, which he began in 2015 to honor the great New Orleans musician and raconteur with performances and educational programs for young people.
Brooks has earned several awards for his excellence in performance. In 2017, he was honored with Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat HeartBeat Award, presented to one person each year who lives their life “with a spirit of humanitarianism, kindness, and generosity.”


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