Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gems from Joe Brazil's tapes

I have been able to preview several tapes in the Joe Brazil tape collection. Joe captured some rare historic moments in jazz. I hope to share more specifics in the near future.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Performance at Jack Straw

Grateful for the attentive audience and passionate performance at Jack Straw on January 14. It is a joy to share the story of Joe Brazil with people unfamiliar with his life. Jay Thomas, pictured here on trumpet, played his first jam session with Joe. Susan Pascal, vibraphonist out of the frame to the right, is married to Dave Pascal, who worked in a band with Joe. In the audience was a student from one of Joe's History of Jazz classes. Stories of musicians are a backbone of the jazz tradition. Blending new music and old stories is at the heart of my artistic practice. Thanks to Jack Straw for supporting this project through discounted studio time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Detroit Residences

A search through city directories in the Detroit Public Library yielded the following information about places where Joe Brazil and his relatives lived.

1928-29
Hilliard (Ida) Brazil Laborer h 1020 Illinois
with Louis Steinberg
Mrs. Gertrude Williams
Louis Williams
Richard Collins

1929-30
Hilliard Brazil Laborer R 13526 Lumpkin Ave (H)

1930-31
Hilliard Brazil Autoworker h 2289 Maple

1931-32
Harrison Hill Laborer R 984 E Vernor Hwy Apt 17

1932-33
Harrison (Queen V) Hill h 1427 St. Joseph
Harrison Hill Driver City Garbage Plant r 3137 Brush Apt 10

1934
Hilliard Brazil Laborer r  12903 Riopelle
With Moses Brazil
James Warsaw

1935
Mrs. Ida Brazil h 1034 Theodore
With Fred L Dodson
Samuel Hollis

1936
Hilliard Brazil Laborer h 1014 Hendrie Ave Apt 11 (Seeman Ct. Apts)
Mrs. Ida Brazil Domestic h 1008 Benton

1937
Hilliard Brazil Laborer h 1014 Hendrie Ave Apt 11
Mrs. Ida Brazil Maid h 5941 Rivard
With John Stokes
Ben Anthony

1938
Hilliard Brazil Laborer h 1014 Hendrie Ave Apt 11
Mrs. Ida Brazil Maid h 5941 Rivard
With John Stokes
Ben Anthony
Stanford Cooper
1939
Hilliard Brazil Laborer h 1014 Hendrie Ave Apt 11
Mrs. Ida Brazil Maid h 5941 Rivard
With John Stokes
Ben Anthony
Stanford Cooper

1940
Mrs. Ida Brazil Maid h 5941 Rivard
With Henry Peoples
Ben Anthony
Stanford Cooper

1941
Mrs. Ida Brazil (widow Hilliard) h 5941 Rivard
With Roosevelt Muller
Ben Anthony
Stanford Cooper

1942
Joseph Brazil 15763 Woodingham

1944
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook

1945
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook

1947
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook

1948
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook
Ida Brazil 17846 Fleming

1949
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook
Ida Brazil 17846 Fleming

1951
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook
Joseph Brazil 17846 Fleming

1952
Hilliard Brazil 536 Holbrook
Joseph Brazil 17846 Fleming
1953
Zodis Brazil (Rosalin J) Coremaker Ford h 2452 S. Deacon Ave
Hilliard Brazil 5125 Helen

1954
Joseph Brazil Laborer Chrysler h 17846 Fleming Ave
With Ali Jackson

1956
Zodis Brazil (Rosalin J) Coremaker Ford h 2452 S. Deacon Ave

1957
Joseph Brazil Laborer Chrysler h 17846 Fleming Ave
With Ali Jackson

1963
17846 Fleming Ave (vacant)

1964
17846 Fleming Ave (Elliot Nichols)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From the Detroit Musicians Union

Joe Brazil first joined the Detroit Federation of Musicians, Local 5, on August 17, 1955. There must have been a few time lapses, because there is an additional application dated December 23, 1959, and a reinstatement memo dated March 1, 1961. He was expelled on March 31, 1964. He listed his instruments as alto and tenor saxophone, and piano (although I believe he also played flute on occasion). He was also a tool maker (he stated it was a union job, but didn't state which union).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

BAM Shirt

Wadie Earvin shared a photo of his tee shirt from the Black Academy of Music.

Friday, September 19, 2014

BlackPast Post

Quintard Taylor has asked me to post an article about Joe Brazil on BlackPast.org. I am very honored to contribute to this online encyclopedia of African American history. I hope to finish this article in the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Draft Narrative for "A Cup of Joe Brazil"

A CUP OF JOE BRAZIL
By Steve Griggs
206-523-4983 stephengriggs@aol.com
© 2014

We live in a city where a mysterious part of jazz was created. And part of that mystery is a Detroit-born saxophonist named Joseph Brazil.

[Play “Joseph Brazil”]

Does anyone here remember Joe Brazil? What do you remember about him?
He was a jazz saxophonist. He taught at the University of Washington and founded the Black Academy of Music. He grew up in Detroit.
I never had the pleasure of meeting him before he passed in 2008. Even though he is not here physically, I invite his spirit to join us here today. He continues to teach me about music, society, and myself.
He is not the first dead musician to mentor me. First, was John Coltrane. He died in 1967, when I was seven. About 11 years later, I heard his music on records and was entranced. The song that first got me was “Village Blues.”

[Band plays Village Blues quietly]

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Program of Music and Narration About Joe Brazil to Premier August 10

"Cup of Joe Brazil" will premier at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library 2pm August 10. Based on archival research, oral histories, and personal reflection about Joe Brazil, I have created a new program of music and narration. The performances are supported by a Residency Partnership Grant from Chamber Music America. There will be 4 additional performances of this program at other Seattle Public Library branches.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vital Family Records

Zodis Brazil (Joe's brother) lived at 17531 Cherrylawn St, Detroit, MI, 48221-2507 in 1983. He died in 1998.

In 1940, Joe (11) lived with his brother Zodis (14), mother Ida (34), and maternal grandfather Harrison Hill (72) at 5947 Rivard Street in Detroit. Joe's father Hilliard (43) lived alone at 536 Holbrook Avenue and worked as a chipper at Dodge Bros (source: 1940 Census).

In 1931 a Mrs. Ida Brazil lived at 1025 Adelaide, Detroit MI (source: City Directory)

In 1930, Moses Brazil (20) (Joe's uncle) lived with wife Trulia (19), daughter Dolores (7 mo), mother Mary (50), and brother Hilliard (33) (Joe's father) at 13526 Lumpkin Street, Detroit, MI (source: 1930 Census)

Zodis Brazil was born 6 May 1924 in Georgia. Joe was born 25 Aug 1927 in Detroit so their mother must have moved from Georgia to Detroit between 1924 and 1927. 

Joe's parents, Hilliard Brazil and Ida Hill lived on farms in adjacent counties in Georgia about half way between Savannah and Atlanta, just south of the path that General Sherman took on his March to the Sea during the Civil War.

Hilliard Brazil married Ida Hill ?? Dec 1926 and divorced 1 Apr 1940 in Wayne, MI (source: Michigan Divorce Records).

A gravestone for Mrs. Ida Breazeal in Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery in Laurens County, GA lists a death date of 12 Oct 1951.

Hilliard Brazil was born 6 Sep 1895 in Georgia, and died 13 Mar 1980 in Oakland, CA. His mother's maiden name was Hardy (source: California Death Index).

A Hilyard Brazeal born 6 Sep 1895 registered for the US WWI draft on 25 Jun 1917 in Montrose, Laurens County, GA. His father is listed as Charlie Brazeal (source: US Draft Registration Card)

Hilliard Brazil was enlisted in the US Army 22 Aug 1918 and released 10 Dec 1918 (source: Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death Files).

Hilliard Brazil living at 536 Holbrook registered for the US WWII draft 27 Apr 1942 in Detroit, MI (source: US Draft Registration Card).

Charlie Brazeal married Mary Lou Hardy on 11 Jul 1893 in Laurens County, GA.

Charlie Brazeal (born Jun 1869) lived with his wife Mary Lou (born Jul 1872), daughter Queen (born 1894), son Hilliard (born Sep 1894), and son Isaac (born Apr 1900) lived next door to Charlie Hardy (born Jul 1845), wife Jane (born Jun 1854), daughter Anne (born Mar 1882), daughter Arlisie (born Mar 1882), son Oscar (born Oct 1887), and daughter Meula (born x 1891) in the Harvard District, Laurens County, GA (source: 1900 Census).

Charlie Brazeal (40) lived with his wife Mary L. (34), daughters Queen (16), Mary L. (8), and sons Hillard (14), Moses (5) in Harvard, Laurens County, GA (source: 1910 Census)

Charlie Brazeal (born 22 Jul 1878) registered for the WWI draft on 17 Sep 1918. He lived at 708 Decater, Dublin, Laurens County, GA. His occupation was Yard Man at a Power Plant. His nearest relative was Annie Lee Brazeal (source: US Draft Registration Card).

A Charlie Brazeal (born May 1877) lived next door to a farmhouse of 7 Brazeals (3 generations) in Hampton Mill, Laurens County, GA (source: 1900 Census).

In 1910, a Charlie Brazeal (28), wife Lou (25), and daughter Annie Lee (6) lived in Toombsboro, GA (Wilkenson County) (source: 1910 Census).

In 1940, a Charlie Brazil (58) and wife Lena (45) lived on Decatur Street, Dublin, GA (Laurens County). Charlie is listed as a laborer at a rim factory (source: 1940 Census)

A Charlie Brazeal died 8 Mar 1969 in Laurens, GA. A gravestone says he was born in 1875.

In 1880, Harrison Hill (17) (Joe's maternal grandfather) lived with his father John (57), mother Bettie (52), brother Jack (20), and brother Monroe (14) on a rented farm in Bluff, Twiggs County, Georgia (source: 1880 Census).

In 1910, Harrison Hill (45), wife Mariah (42), their daughters Bessie (20), Daisy (14), Bettie (11), Ida (9), Bertha (7), and sons Burke (19), Holliman (17), Freddie (16), Harrison Jr. (12), John (4), Albert (2) lived on a farm in McDonalds, Twiggs County, Georgia (source 1910 Census).

Gravestone


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Joe Brazil Audio Tapes from Detroit

While organizing the Joe Brazil audio tape collection, I came across these gems:

Date
Place
Personnel
9/?/1954
Blue Bird Inn
Sonny Stitt
Miles Davis
Elvin Jones
Barry Harris
?/?/1955
Club 411
Joe Brazil
Johnny Griffin
1/21/1956
West End
Sonny Stitt – saxophone
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Tommy Flanagan – piano
James Beans Richardson – bass
Elvin Jones – drums
Wilber Hardin – trumpet
Joe Brazil – announcer
1/22/1956
Rouge Lounge
Side 1
Sonny Stitt
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Elvin Jones – drums
Tommy Flanagan – piano
Beans Richardson – bass

Side 2
Sam Ward – tenor
Oliver Skee Wilson – s
Jess Jones – bass
Joe Brazil – alto
Bert Myrick – drums
?/?/1956
West End
Thad Jones
2/5/1956
Rouge Lounge
Max Roach – drums
Clifford Brown – trumpet
George Morrow – bass
Richie Powell – piano
Sonny Rollins – tenor
1956-7?
Brazil’s basement
Koko Winfrey – tenor
Bernard McKinney – euphonium
Melvin McRay – tenor
Hugh Lawson – piano
Joe Brazil – alto
Ali Jackson – bass
Bert Myrick – drums
Stony Nightingale – tenor
Abe Woodley – vibes
11/?/1957
Rouge Lounge
Bud Powell – piano
Elvin Jones – drums
11/?/1957

Bud Powell – piano
Elvin Jones – drums

12/3/1957

Clifford Brown – trumpet
Max Roach – drums
George Morrow – bass
Richie Powell – piano
Sonny Rollins – tenor
Yusef Lateef – tenor (guest)
Kenny Dorham – trumpet (guest)
12/3/1957

Max Roach – drums
Kenny Dorham – trumpet
Yusef Lateef – tenor
George Morrow – bass
?/?/1957

Max Roach – drums
Kenny Dorham – trumpet
Sonny Rollins – tenor
George Morrow – bass
Wade Legge – piano
?/?/1957
Third Ave and Warren
Bass – Herman Wright, Ernie Farrow, Ali Jackson
Piano – Barry Harris, Hugh Lawson, Bobo
Drums – Roy Brooks, Johnny Clever
Sax – Yusef Lateef, Koko Winfrey, Joe Brazil, Charles McPherson, Pepper Adams, Donald Waldon, Joe Henderson, Sonny Red
Trumpet – Donald Towns, Lonnie Hilliard, Vincent Pitts
Trombone – Brewster McKinney, Mike Terry
2/11/1958

Tommy Flanagan
Sonny Red
Joe Brazil
Joe Harris
Ernie Farrow
Koko Winfrey
10/13/1958
Blue Bird Inn
Thad Jones – trumpet
Billy Mitchell – tenor
Elvin Jones – drums
Barry Harris – piano
James (Beans) Richardson – bass
Alvin Jackson – bass (last tune)
1/18/1959
Blue Bird Inn
Barry Harris – piano
Brewster McKinney
Sonny Red – alto
Hugh Lawson – piano
Ernie Farrow – bass
Bert Myrick – drums
Abe Woodley – vibes
?/?/1959


2/23/1960
Brazil’s basement
John Coltrane – soprano
Joe Brazil – tenor
Bennie Muffett (Maupin?) – tenor
Teddy Harris – piano
Vance Madlock – bass
George Goldsmith – drums
6/?/1960

Joe Henderson
Joe Brazil
Oliver Wilson
Jess Jones
Felton Jones
Joe Harris
& others
11/24/1960
Brazil’s basement
John Coltrane – soprano
McCoy Tyner – piano
Reggie Workman – bass
Will Austin
Frank Marellie
Jimmie Hawkins
Teddy Harris
George Goldsmith
Bob Cook
Joe Brazil
?/?/?
Prince Hall
Barry Harris – piano
Bert Myrick – drums
Sal Austin
Joe Brazil
Koko Winfrey

Strolling Set
Joe Thurman
Joe Benny
W. Austin
Joe Harris
Koko Winfrey
?/?/?
Rouge Lounge
Sonny Stitt – saxophones
Bobby Timmons – piano
Edgar Willis – bass
Kenny Dennis – drums
Koko Winfrey – saxophones
Joe Brazil – saxophones
?/?/?
Rouge Lounge
Max Roach – drums
Sonny Rollins – tenor
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Barry Harris – piano
George Morrow – bass

Side 2 (Session at Brazil’s basement)
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Doug Watkins – bass
Harold McKinney – piano
Joe Brazil – saxophone
Frank Gant? – drums
?/?/?
Brazil’s basement
Doug Watkins – bass
Donald Towns – trumpet
Joe Brazil – alto
Teddy Harris? – piano
Bert Myrick – drums
?/?/?
Brazil’s basement
Felton Jones – trumpet
Joe Brazil – saxophone
Bert Myrick – drums
Charles McPherson – alto
Lonnie Hilliard
Ira Jackson (Sweet Georgia)
Brewster McKinney
Sonny Red – alto
?/?/?

Max Roach – drums
Elvin Jones – drums



?/?/?

Doug Watkins
Joe Brazil
Brewster McKinney
Joe Harris
Bert Myrick
Jack Lipscomb
Koko Winfrey
?/?/?

Koko Winfrey
Brewster McKinney
Joe Brazil
Bert Myrick
Melvin Jackson
Abe Woodley
?/?/?
Rouge Lounge
Sonny Stitt
Koko Winfrey
Jack Lipscomb
?/?/?
Blue Bird Inn
Thad Jones
Barry Harris