Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Brackeen, JoAnne (Joanne Grogan)

Brackeen, JoAnne [Joanne Grogan], piano; b. Ventura, CA, 26 July 1938. Brackeen began to learn jazz, at age eleven, by transcribing entire piano solos from recordings. By the age of twelve, she was busy performing. After moving to the Los Angeles area at 16, Brackeen met and played with Scott LaFaro, Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Charles Lloyd, Bobby Hutcherson, Dexter Gordon, and Art Farmer.
JoAnne was awarded a scholarship to study at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, but an academic approach didn't suit her and she left after a few days.

She played in Cal with Harold Land, Teddy Edwards and Charles Lloyd. She married saxophonist Charles Brackeen) and left performing ca. 1959-65 to raise four children. She relocated to New York in 1965, where she met and played with such well-known musicians as Paul Chambers, Dave Liebman, Sonny Stitt, Woody Shaw, Lee Konitz and George Benson. From 1969-71 she worked with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Brackeen then went on to perform extensively with Joe Henderson (1972-1975) and Stan Getz (1975-1977). She has worked as a leader since then. She has gone on to perform and/or record with many more musicians including Pharoah Sanders, Dave Liebman, Freddie Hubbard and Dave Holland. Her trios featured such noted players as Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, Sam Jones, and others.

JoAnne continues to tour worldwide and has given concerts at nearly every major concert hall, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, and Seattle's Experience Music Project. She has also performed at every major European jazz festival, including Istanbul, Montreux, Molde, North Sea, Umbria, Vienna, and Pori. Greg Osby, Javon Jackson, Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, Branford Marsalis, Al Foster and Billy Hart are just a few of the musicians who have played JoAnne's compositions.

Although totally self-schooled (aside from the mutual sharing of ideas with fellow musicians), JoAnne is currently a Professor at Berklee College of Music, the largest music school in the world. She has also led residencies and clinics worldwide, and her music has been performed in big band formats and in various configurations at universities such as Harvard, Duke, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Youngstown and the New England Conservatory among others.

She received two grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, as well as State Department sponsorship for a mid-80s tour of the Middle East and Europe. She was included in the Ken Burns TV documentary "Jazz," as well as Robert L. Doerschuk's "88 Giants of Jazz Piano" (Huiksi, 2001). She has received a Berklee Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Education," an IAJE "Outstanding Educator" Award, the "Living Legend Award" from IWJ (International Women In Jazz), and the ABI award for "Woman of the Year 2001." She twice served on the NEA Grant panel and has adjudicated for Chamber Music America, as well as the Jacksonville and Dewars' Piano Competitions.

JoAnne now records regularly for the Arkadia label.

Snooze (1975); New True Illusion (1976); Tring-A-Ling (1977); Invitation (1978); AFT (1979); Ancient Dynasty (1980); with Ryo Kawasaki: Trinkets And Things (1981); Special Identity (1982); Havin' Fun (1985); Fi-fi Goes To Heaven (1987); Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Volume 1 (1990); Where Legends Dwell (1992); Breath Of Brazil (1992); Take A Chance (1994); Power Talk (1995); Turnaround (1995); Six Ate (1996); Pink Elephant Magic (1999); Dr. Chu Chow; Popsicle Illusion (2000)

Arnold Jay Smith: Profile. Joanne Brackeen, in: Down Beat, (10.Mar.1977)
Leonard Feather: Blindfold Test. Joanne Brackeen, in: Down Beat (Feb.1980)
Nelson George: JoAnne Brackeen. Pianist for a New Era, in: Down Beat (Jul.1980)
D. Nelsen: Joann Brackeen, in: Jazz Times, 4-5/1981
Anon.: Off the Record. A Piano Solo by JoAnne Brackeen, in: Contemporary Keyboard (Jan.1982) (transcribed solo)
Bob Blumenthal: JoAnne Brackeen. "First Comes the Sound", in: Down Beat (Aug.1982)
Mary Unterbrink: Jazz Women at the Keyboard 1983 [book
Hal Hill: Joanne Brackeen, in: Coda (Feb.1985)
Brian Priestley (ed.): Front Line Piano Solos 4 1986 (transcribed solo)
Fred Bouchard: Blindfold Test. Joanne Brackeen, in: Down Beat (Aug.1987)
Stephane Stein: Fifi Goes to Heaven, in: Jazziz (Apr/May 1987)
Leslie Gourse: Joanne Brackeen. Swinging Dissonance, in: Down Beat (Nov.1988)
Leslie Gourse: Joanne Brackeen. Free to Explore, in: Jazz Times, Aug.1990
L.& A. Lewis: Joanne Brackeen, in: Cadence (Jun.1991)
Larry Birnbaum: Blindfold Test. Joanne Brackeen, in: Down Beat (May 1992)
David Fisher: Joanne Brackeen, in: Jazz Journal (Nov.1992)
Leslie Gourse: Joanne Brackeen. Sense of Wonder, in: Jazz Times (Feb.1993)
Don Hillegas: Joanne Brackeen. Ese es el nombre de mi cancion, in: Cuadernos de Jazz (Jul/Aug.1993)
Joanne Brackeen: 'Picasso - A Piano Composition, in: Down Beat (Jun.1994)(sheet music)
Leslie Gourse: Madame Jazz. Contemporary Women Instrumentalists, New York 1995 [book]
Leslie Gourse: Profile. Joanne Brackeen Calls Her Own Tunes, in: Jazziz (Aug.1996)


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