Don Braden
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Don Braden

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Bio

DON BRADEN BIOGRAPHY

". . . one of the new young lions of the tenor saxophone." -- Roy Haynes, drummer
". . . brilliant and assured . . ." -- Peter Watrous, The New York Times
" A nice person and a great musician . . .", -- Bill Cosby

Don Braden is a musician of the highest caliber. Having spent years as the saxophonist with greats like Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard and Roy Haynes, he has developed an extensive knowledge of every aspect of jazz performance. He is an imaginative, technically excellent, soulful saxophonist, and his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication give him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging. Most important of all: he has a beautiful sound, and he swings! All this combines with his joyous yet disciplined personality to make him one of the most important young musicians working today.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 20, 1963, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Braden's first exposure to music came from his parents' record collection, and from radio. Although there were no musicians in his family, he showed a strong interest in music early on. At age 13, he started playing tenor sax in middle school band class, and two years later, joined his first professional band -- influenced by and performing the music of "contemporary jazz" groups, like The Crusaders. After being introduced to acoustic jazz in high school by educator Jamey Aebersold, Braden went on to be chosen first chair for the McDonald's All-American High
School Jazz Band and the McDonald's All-American High School Marching Band, and to receive a Yamaha Instrument Award.

After his acceptance to Harvard University in 1981, Braden divided his time between studying engineering and performing at jazz clubs around the Boston/Cambridge area. While there, he
studied briefly with local saxophone heavyweights Jerry Bergonzi and Bill Pierce. He also began composing more seriously during this time, writing and arranging pieces for several Harvard-based dance, film and music projects as well as for his own quartet.

In 1984, Braden moved to New York City where his first gigs were with the Harper Brothers Quintet and with organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and then with Betty Carter. After touring with the
Wynton Marsalis Quintet for over seven months, he recorded with Betty Carter on her Grammy Award-winning album, "Look What I Got" (Verve-Polygram). Following gigs in Europe, Japan and the Americas with Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others, Braden was a member of the Freddie Hubbard Quintet from 1989 to 1991. Since 1991 he has worked with Tom Harrell, the Mingus Big Band, Kenny Barron, J. J. Johnson, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and others, as well as with his own groups.

Braden's eleventh CD as a leader, "Brighter Days", features his working quartet: Xavier Davis
on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, and Cecil Brooks III on drums. The communication and interaction on this recording are remarkable. The repertoire burns and swings,
although the album boldly leads off with a sumptuous original ballad, "She's On Her Way". Other songs include unique interpretations of classic standards like "Invitation" and "I Hear
a Rhapsody", as well as soulful reading of Grover Washington, Jr's "Not Yet".

Braden’s other CDs include "Don Braden Presents the Contemporary Standards
Ensemble" (on the Double-Time Jazz label), features a new young-all-star band performing popular songs and originals from the latter third of the twentieth century. "The Fire Within", released on RCA Victor in March 1999, features his passionate playing and sophisticated writing in a quartet setting. The previous RCA Victor CD, "The Voice of the Saxophone" (co-produced by Benny Golson), showcases an all-star octet and has, like all of his previous CDs, received excellent press and an abundance of radio airplay. Before that was "The Open Road" on the Double-Time Jazz label, and "Organic" (Sony BK-66873), which stayed in the Gavin Jazz national airplay chart top 5 for seven weeks and reached #2! His other CDs include "The Time Is Now" (Criss Cross 1051), "Wish List" (Criss Cross 1069), "After Dark" (Criss Cross 1081), "Pay As You Earn" (Mons 2004, co-led with Joris Teepe), and "Landing Zone" (Landmark 1539). Braden's groups have included some of the most respected musicians today; among them: bassists Christian McBride & Joris Teepe, pianists Benny Green & Darrell Grant, drummers Carl Allen, Cecil Brooks III & Billy Hart, trumpeters Tom Harrell & Randy Brecker, trombonist Steve Turre, organists Jack McDuff &
Larry Goldings, and guitarist Russell Malone.

In addition to performing and composing for his own groups and CDs, Don Braden has composed for a number of important projects. He spent four years as co-music supervisor/composer for Bill Cosby’s most recent CBS sitcom, “Cosby”, which is now in
syndication. He also co-wrote the theme song for Cosby’s current CBS car