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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joris Teepe & Don Braden: Conversations

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In life we tend to make hard distinctions between the value of conversation and the worth of action, crystalizing such a dividing line with statements like “talk is cheap" and “actions speak louder than words." Jazz, however, has a way of relating the two. When musicians get together to play, the talk is the action. Every opportunity to play with others is a chance to open the lines of communication, and albums like this remind us that the deeper the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Don Braden Organix Quartet: Luminosity

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Saxophonist Don Braden is all about positivity and sharing the joys of jazz. His ebullient music speaks to his intelligence yet he never falls prey to the jazz-as-intellectual-exercise trap that seems to snare younger musicians and a good amount of his peers. Over the course of his previous albums, Braden's managed to create accessible music built atop the pillars of wit, honesty, swing, and heart. He does it once more on this satisfying date. The aptly-titled Luminosity ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: Gentle Storm

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Don Braden has come a long way since his days at Harvard, where he studied engineering along with playing in the university's jazz band. Over two decades into his career in jazz at the time of these recording sessions, the tenor saxophonist is very much at the top of his game. Joined by pianist George Colligan, bassist Joris Teepe and drummer Cecil Brooks III, who have all worked together on a number of occasions, Braden assembles a terrific program.

INTERVIEW

Don Braden: Harvard Hipster

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Don Braden went to Harvard in 1981 to become a computer programmer and emerged as a new voice on the saxophone. For two decades he's been making a name for himself in the modern jazz world, and he's compiled an impressive resume, working with established masters like [trumpeter] Freddie Hubbard, [vocalist] Betty Carter, [drummers] Roy Haynes and Tony Williams; then-emerging-talents like [trumpeter] Wynton Marsalis and the Harper Brothers; and as a leader and composer in his own right. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: Workin'

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Tenor saxophonist Don Braden comes out swinging on Workin' with a famous Earth Wind & Fire tune from the mid-'70s called “Can't Hide Love (from Gratitude, Sony, 1975). The audience is very much with him in this quaint New Jersey jazz club, which has a creative separation between the dinning room and the bar area. Nobody is too far from the music in this relaxed atmosphere. Braden is accompanied by Cecil Brooks III (drums) and Kyle Koehler (organ) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: Workin'

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Tenor saxophonist Don Braden works in a variety of contexts. None is more interesting than his Organic Trio with Cecil Brooks III on drums and Philadelphia native Kyle Koehler on organ, recorded live at Brooks' Jersey club Cecil's for Workin', his 13th disc as a leader. This is no soul-tinged “chicken shack session, though the playing is indeed soulful in a modern jazz way. It is also enriched by the simplicity that comes with having an uncrowded bandstand, showcasing Koehler ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: Workin'

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A number of potential factors can work against the success of any live jazz recording, despite the fact that the music should in theory always be at its best when captured in such a setting. Such factors, like the kind of form the individual musicians happen to be in on any given night, for example, are irrelevant here; what in essence is captured for posterity is a night when a trio of musicians came together to play.

Tenor saxophonist Don ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: The New Hang

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On the verge of what might be a definite breakthrough, tenor saxophonist Don Braden has been at the top of the list among better informed jazz followers, but he has just skirted below the radar of the average consumer. A superb trio of Criss Cross sides in the mid '90s led to a contract with RCA Records which unfortunately didn't deliver the bang for the buck that one would have hoped for. Now he's with another small independent label and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Braden: The New Hang

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The ever youthful Don Braden has released his 12th recording as a leader, The New Hang , a splendid collection which showcases not only his prowess as one of jazz' tenor ambassadors but the prowess of a stellar supporting cast. Things start off with a surprisingly jaunty and upbeat version of Chaka Khan's “Through the Fire." Braden swings during his solo, moving in and around the melody as drummer Cecil Brooks III thrashes behind him. Organist Kyle Koehler follows and ...


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