Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

362

George's Braithophone

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Big Jazz Nerd,

Whatever happened to George Braith? I remember listening to him play on the street in NYC decades ago. Is he still playing?

Roger Sales, Darien, Connecticut


Roger:

Yes, George Braith is still making music at age 67. His home base is in Milwaukee where he leads the Braith Family Singers—Flame, Jasmine, Taharqa, Chime, and youngest grandson Chris.

Perhaps best known as the originator of the Braithophone—two soprano saxs welded together—Braith was one of only a handful of players to develop a two-horn technique, ala Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Born in NYC in 1939, Braith was a child prodigy on various horns. He began his professional career at the age of 13 with the Dickens LaRoca Big Band, and after graduating from high school in 1957, he went to Europe with his American Jazz Quintet—playing on the same bill as J.J. Johnson for an Amsterdam concert.

Braith's recording career escalated in the early '60's when he cut sides for Blue Note, including his debut as a leader Two Souls in One. The record featured Braith on soprano and alto saxs, simultaneously. Around this time Braith opened Musart, an avant-garde arts and music center in a basement on Spring and West Broadway in what is now the SOHO area of NYC. Musart was a gathering place for the top jazz artists in town. Larry Young, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach, Freddy Hubbard, Harold Land, Bobby Hutcherson, Abbey Lincoln, Wilbur Ware, Roy Haynes, Kenny Durham, Gilly Coggins, Albert Dailey and Beever Harris recorded at Musart. A deeply spiritual man, Braith was a friend and contemporary of John Coltrane. According to Braith, 'Trane called him up right before he died and asked George to call Albert Ayler, Pharaoh Sanders and Archie Shepp. Braith wasn't sure why, but about a week after 'Trane died. When Braith went out to visit Alice Coltrane she told him about 'Trane's message which she had received in a dream the night before. The message was that 'Trane would visit him every Tuesday at 3PM at Musart, and to be prepared. Accordingly, Braith told his friends not to visit him during the prophesized day and time, which he spent alone in meditation, waiting for 'Trane. Until one day when he heard a knock on the door. It was Sonny Rollins.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Big Jazz Nerd
Real Jazz at The Real School
By AAJ Staff
December 13, 2007
Big Jazz Nerd
The Adorable Mr. Jarrett
By AAJ Staff
August 29, 2006
Big Jazz Nerd
Who Was Duke's Sophisticated Lady?
By AAJ Staff
May 31, 2006
Big Jazz Nerd
Bass and Bitter Rivals
By AAJ Staff
February 11, 2006
Big Jazz Nerd
Who was Spider Martin?
By AAJ Staff
December 9, 2005
Big Jazz Nerd
George's Braithophone
By AAJ Staff
November 8, 2005
Big Jazz Nerd
Shut Yo' Mouth
By AAJ Staff
October 17, 2005