After more than 40 years on the scene, eminent composer/pianist Joanne
Brackeen is recognized as one of the most adventurous and innovative
musicians in Jazz. A consummate artist with a totally individualistic
musical approach, Ms. Brackeen transcended the notorious gender barriers
that exist in Jazz, helping pave the way for countless female artists.
Originally from Ventura, California, she moved to Los Angeles at the age
of 16. During the 1950s she worked with top saxmen Dexter Gordon and
Teddy Edwards, and soon after with Charles Lloyd. Her first real exposure
came in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s from her work with such noted Jazz
masters as Sonny Stitt, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Stan Getz, Dave Liebman and
Art Blakey, who referred to her as his "adopted daughter."
But it wasn’t until 1979 when she recorded a trio album with Eddie Gomez
and Jack DeJohnette that she began receiving serious critical
A winner in the 'DownBeat' Critics Poll for Piano in 1979 and 1982, Ms.
Brackeen is also considered one of the best and most unique Jazz
Both Ornette Coleman and Oscar Peterson name her as their favorite
composer. A multiple year grant recipient from the National Endowment
for the Arts, Ms. Brackeen’s commissions for works with big bands include
Duke University, the New England Conservatory, Rutgers University, Dickenson
College, the Tri-City Jazz Festival in Cleveland and SUNY-Plattsburg.
Highlights of some of her recent activities include 100 Gold Fingers
Tour of Japan (with such masters as Hank Jones and Kenny Barron), a solo
concert at the Kennedy Center, San Jose Jazz Festival, a Switzerland/Germany tour
with Pharoah Sanders, a Smithsonian concert, Midwest tour and European
tour with her own quartet and a compositional residency at the Atlantic
Center for the Arts.
Ms. Brackeen has recorded extensively for a variety of American and
European labels, including Concord Jazz, Konnex, Tappan-Zee/Columbia,
Pausa, Choice, Timeless, Black Lion/Freedom, Turnipseed and Evidence.
Ms. Brackeen is also a member of the faculty of the Berklee College of Music
in Boston and the New School University in New York.