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Don Braden

Instrument: Saxophone | AMT Products Used: TA2

“The AMT TA2 microphone is by far the best sounding clip-on mic I’ve ever heard or played…It is a great mic for jazz!” – Don Braden

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 has released his thirteenth CD as a leader, “Workin’ – Live at Cecil’s”, featuring his burning
Organic Trio, with rising star Kyle Koehler on the Hammond organ, and Braden’s regular powerhouse drummer,
Cecil Brooks III (who, incredibly, owns the club where the CD was recorded.) His previous CD, “The New
Hang, ” adds the remarkable Conrad Herwig on trombone to the group. This band’s repertoire includes a variety of
sizzling original compositions, as well an burning version of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love” and
a swinging version of Chaka Khan’s classic “Through the Fire”. His eleventh CD as a leader,
“Brighter Days”, features Xavier Davis on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, and Cecil Brooks III
on drums.

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 cartoon series, “Little
Bill”. Braden is also the proud recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation (in conjunction with
Chamber Music America) Jazz composition grant, which will fund the creation of a new work for
his Octet.

Braden’s educational endeavors are a very important part of his career. He is currently an
adjunct instructor of jazz at William Paterson University, Music Director of the Litchfield
Jazz Festival Summer Music School, and the Music Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts
Center’s Jazz for Teens program. He also recently singed on as part of the “New York Faculty”
at the North Netherlands Conservatory, in Groningen, Netherlands. He endorses Julius Keilwerth
saxophones, in conjunction with the major music retailer Buffet-Crampon. He also endorses AMT Microphones,
and Jamey Aebersold play-a-long products.

As a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and teacher, Don Braden will continue to represent the
highest levels of strength, creativity, discipline, joy, and soulfulness as he moves along the
classic jazz path: to express a contemporary point of view in the powerful, spiritual, intelligent,
and (most importantly) swinging jazz style.

More information on Don Braden is available at

Website: Don Braden