CMJ 2012 has ended
avatar for Don Braden

Don Braden

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.

Braden has released 16 CDs as a leader or co-leader, starting with "The Time is Now" in 1991. In his most recent "Big Fun(k) Live", co-led with acclaimed drummer Karl Latham, Braden revisits his Jazz/Funk roots. He soars through the music like a true Jazzman, but the context is highly funky! His other CDs run the gamut of straight ahead Jazz, with a variety of tight, grooving ensembles, engaging arrangements and rich original compositions. His list of sidemen reads like a Who's Who of Jazz: bassists Christian McBride & Joris Teepe, pianists Benny Green, Julian Joseph, Kenny Werner and Darrell Grant, drummers Carl Allen, Cecil Brooks III & Billy Hart, saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman, Vincent Herring, and Dave Liebman, trumpeters Terell Stafford, Tom Harrell & Randy Brecker, trombonists Steve Turre and Conrad Herwig, organists Jack McDuff & Larry Goldings, and guitarist Russell Malone among many others.

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 CBS sitcom, “Cosby”, which is now in syndication. He also co-wrote the theme song for Cosby’s CBS cartoon series, “Little Bill” and composed music for Nickelodeon's "Fatherhood". Braden is the proud recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation (in conjunction with Chamber Music America) Jazz composition grant, which funded the creation of "The Soaring Spirit", a one-hour suite for his Octet. He has written a number of big band charts and has composed or arranged several pieces for full symphonic orchestra. He and bassist Joris Teepe co-composed "Vox Populi Mundi", which they premiered in 2006 with the North Netherlands Orchestra in a performance for Queen Beatirx (the reigning queen of Holland), and followed up with "Work, Work, Work", premiered in 2012.

Braden is a passionate and highly experienced educator. He was recently appointed Guest Conductor of the Harvard Monday Jazz Band (he studied engineering as an undergraduate at Harvard), and also serves as Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Montclair State University. For over 15 years he has served as Music Director of the renowned Litchfield Jazz Camp, and the Music Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Well's Fargo Jazz for Teens program. He is also a visiting professor in the "New York Comes to Groningen" program at the Prins Claus Conservatoire, in Groningen, Netherlands.

Don endorses R.S. Berkeley saxophones and flutes, and the Sonare alto flute. He also endorses SONAR music production software, AMT Microphones, and Jamey Aebersold play-a-long products.