Brackeen, Charles

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Brackeen, Charles

Brackeen, Charles , American tenor saxophonist and jazz reed player; b. Eufala, Okla., March 13, 1940. Charles Brackeen lived on a cattle and hog farm in Eufaula until he was 11, then moved to Paris, Tex., internalizing the capacious Southwest tenor sound and incantational Amerindian rhythms in his mind’s ear. He played piano and violin from a young age, on which he’d accompany his aunt at church services, and began playing saxophone at age 10. At 14 he moved to N.Y., where various “hip” relatives gradually introduced him to the music of Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. During a late-teens sojourn to Los Angeles he met Omette Coleman, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Paul Bley, and other pioneers of New Jazz. During the 1960s and early 1970s in N.Y., tenor/soprano saxophonist Brackeen established himself as a thoroughly individual and personal voice in the avant-garde realm. During the 1980s, he was sought out by the manager of the Silkheart label and invited to record three dates between 1986–87. Although Brackeen has had long hiatuses from recording, his documented work is highly energetic and invigorating.


Rhythm X (1968); Bannar (1987); Attainment (1987); Worshippers Come Nigh (1987).

—Ted Panken