Brackeen, JoAnne (1938–)

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Brackeen, JoAnne (1938–)

American jazz pianist and composer. Name variations: Joanne Brackeen, Joanne or JoAnne Grogan. Born JoAnne Grogan, 1938 in Ventura, California; attended Los Angeles Conservatory; m. Charles Brackeen (saxophonist), early 1960s; children: 4.

Innovative jazz pianist and prolific composer consistently ranked among world's best, who broke the glass ceiling and became an icon for women in jazz; began playing piano at 9; met and played with many jazz greats in Los Angeles while still in teens, such as Dexter Gordon and Art Farmer; moved to New York (1965), where she enjoyed great success, playing and recording with Paul Chambers, Lee Konitz, George Benson, Pharoah Sanders and Dave Holland; gained distinction as 1st and only female in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1969–72) and went on to perform extensively with Joe Henderson (1972–75) and Stan Getz (1975–77); became successful solo artist and leader, forming own groups with such sidemen as Eddie Gomez, Cecil McBee, Sam Jones, Billy Hart and Freddie Waits; recorded over 2 dozen albums as leader and over 30 as side person; toured extensively worldwide, performing at every major European jazz festival; gave concerts at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Town Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Smithsonian Institution and Seattle's Experience Music Project; created a library of more than 300 original compositions ranging in style from bop to Latin to avant-garde, over 100 of which have been recorded; worked as professor at New School and at Berklee College of Music; albums include Snooze (1975), Special Identity (1981); Ancient Dynasty (1988), Live at Maybeck (1989), Where Legends Dwell (1991) and Popsicle Illusion (2000). Was included in Ken Burns' documentary "Jazz"; nominated for Grammy award for album, Pink Elephant Magic (1999).

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