Wednesday, November 7, 2012

John Handy with Joe Brazil in 1978

Wadie Earvin shared this poster for a concert by the Brazil Academy of Music featuring John Handy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Black Panther Aaron Dixon on Gary Hammon

In My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain, Aaron Dixon talks about Gary Hammon, Joe Brazil's student.

"It seemed that everybody who could play an instrument was in a band, and it wasn't long before Elmer [Aaron's brother] had his own group. They were called the Regents, with Biggy Lewis on guitar and Dennis Blackmon on keyboards, Gary Hammon on tenor sax, and Ralph Brooks on drums. These cats were one hell of a band. Most would go on to make names for themselves. As a matter of fact, the Central District was loaded with great musicians. There must have been eight or ten bands in the area, each with its own unique sound. I sometimes traveled with Elmer's band on their gigs and developed a close relationship with the sax player, Gary Hammon. He went out and got a soprano sax and started teaching me how to play. Sometimes we would go to a dusty, funky little jazz club, both of us carrying our saxes. While Gary played a few numbers, I wished for the day that I would get good enough to sit in."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Byron Pope Lives

Through the UW digital archivist I got in contact with Joe Brazil's partner for jazz education at UW, Byron Pope. He lives in Switzerland. A French journalist is chronicling his story. I hope to post more about Byron soon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Interview with Elvin Jones

Elvin Jones gave a clinic for the Black Academy of Music on August 24, 1974 at the Pioneer Banque jazz club. The following interview was published in On the BAM Line.

Joe Brazil introduced Elvin Jones by stating that Elvin had changed the whole concept of modern drumming. The dialogue of the Workshop which followed was centered around the technical aspects of drumming and percussion. Here are highlights from that Workshop:

Q. What size bass drum do you use?

A. I had a 24" when I first started out. I now use an 18" drum; it is compact and easy to carry. I don't have a valet so I have to carry my equipment myself and hauling these drums from city to city gets to be a very heavy job. I can get the same effect on the smaller drum as I can on the larger one.

Photo with Freddie Hubbard

From Seattle Municipal Archives

Thursday, March 29, 2012

At the Checkmate with Rufus Reid

Photo from the Seattle Times 10/5/67. Joe Brazil - saxophone, Lee Anderson - piano, Rufus Reid - bass, Bobby Tuttle - drums. The Checkmate was located at 1431 23rd Avenue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Wikipedia Entry

I summarized all the mentions of Joe Brazil in books on a Wikipedia page at I will add more as I discover more information.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Photo at the Mardi Gras

Flugelhorn player Ed Kelley and saxophonist Joe Brazil perform as part of a four-man group at the Mardi Gras Grill, a cocktail lounge located at 2047 E. Madison Street. The group also included drummer Ken McDougall and a Seattle resident, Jim Koser, on electric piano. These photos ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s special New Year’s Eve live music section.

Photographer: Tom Brownell

Image Date: 1961

Image Number: 1986.5.5881.2.1

The Site of Legendary Jams

Joe bought the house at 17846 Fleming Street, Detroit, MI 48212 with his brother for his mother. When she passed in 1951, he put a bar and grand piano in the basement. About 20 people could fit.

Black and white photo from the Frances Brazil Collection.

Listen to what transpired Thursday, September 25, 1958. According to The Coltrane Reference the soloists are John Coltrane followed by an alto solo by either Joe Brazil or Sonny Kyner, then Joe Henderson. The rhythm section is Hugh Lawson on piano, Ernie Farrow on bass, and Roy Brooks on drums.

Coltrane was in Detroit that week with the Miles Davis sextet playing at Clarence's Blue Bird Inn.

Article in April Earshot Jazz

The April 2012 issue of Earshot Jazz will include a story about the life and impact of saxophonist Joe Brazil. If you have any stories or information you would like to share, please contact me at