Joanne Brackeen Biography

Joanne Grogan, 26 July 1938, Ventura, California, USA. Brackeen was self-taught; academic tuition did not suit her, and she left the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music after three days. Despite this, her piano playing became much in demand among the most exacting jazz leaders on the west coast: Harold Land, Teddy Edwards and Charles Lloyd. Unimpeded by marriage (to saxophonist Charles Brackeen) and four children, she relocated to New York in 1965, playing with Woody Shaw and Dave Liebman. From 1969-71 she worked with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers: that a woman (and a white woman at that) could hold down such a position says much about her abilities. Like all the essential pianists in jazz, Brackeen has a touch with a ballad that is utterly unique yet reverberates with the whole tradition. The high quality of her accompanists - Cecil McBee (bass), Al Foster (drums), Branford Marsalis (saxophone) - is another example of her achievements.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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