While in college Trilok Gurtu joined a group called Waterfront in 1969. Waterfront was a Mumbai band that used to play in discotheques and sometimes at pop concerts, but since a musicians could hardly make a living in India, group was disbanded in 1973. Back then Trilok Gurtu could not afford himself a drum kit of his own so he had to borrow it from a friend’s father and in exchange he had to bring buckets of water from a community tap for the family.
In 1973 Trilok Gurtu left India and toured Europe with a Waterfront, and later as part of R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle's troupe. He lived in Italy for a while and then returned home to India. Even nowadays, no matter of all worldwide recognition, in India Trilok Gurtu is still in the shadow of his mother’s fame. He used to play as a drummer in Yazz Yatra. Ahmed Jan Thirakwa became his teacher of tabla. Trilok Gurtu could not make living out of music back home, so he decided to leave India.
Once again, this time for good, left India and headed to New York in 1976. There he met alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Barre Philips and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos. With a recommendation from Charlie Mariano, Trilok Gurtu applied to the Berkeley College of Music, but they rejected him. Years later, after international recognition and many awards the Berkeley College of Music offered Trilok Gurtu a position of an honorary member of the faculty, but this time he rejected them!
Sangeeta Bahuguna, "Rediff"