Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sonny Red

Anders Svanoe published research of Sonny Red in The Annual Review of Jazz Studies in 2007. Like Sonny, Joe's family moved to Detroit from the south. Anders conducted many interviews with Detroit musicians. Below are mentions of Joe Brazil from Anders' research.

"I remember seeing Red a few times down at Joe Brazil's. I first started to play drums by going down to Joe Brazil's. The way I got there was Doug Watkins, the bass player, pulled me over there since Doug and I went to the same high school. Anyway, he was telling me to go sit  in, and I told him that I wasn't ready yet. But he told me to come on  by there anyway. So I went there and sat in with Barry on piano, Joe Brazil [on alto saxophone], Donald Byrd [on trumpet], and Doug Watkins on bass. They played a tempo, extremely fast, and somehow or another I kept that tempo, and that's what opened the door for me. They said that the next time they were going to give me a call, and they did." - Frank Gant

"Joe Brazil was important on the scene and a good friend of Coltrane's. That was perfect for Trane. This was a place, just free to him, to play as long as he wanted to." - Tommy Flanagan

"I remember one session that we did at Joe Brazil's place. We did a lot of jam sessions down there. Sonny was there and sometimes Barry, Ko-Ko [Kenneth "Cokie" Winfrey], the tenor player, used to live down at Joe's place, so he'd always be there for the sessions. That was around 1955 or 1956. I lived right down the street, so I was there a lot." - Kiane Zawadi


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Joe Brazil's Possessions

Joe and Frances married on March 24, 1963 but separated during the 1980's. According to King County Property Tax records, Joe gave the house to Frances on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1985 in a settlement. Joe took all of his possessions except for the baby grand piano that he had moved from Detroit. They were officially divorced on September 24, 2002.

Joe married Virginia on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2003. They had first met in the 1970's when Joe was teaching inmates at the Black Academy of Music and Virginia was a social worker working with prisoners.

Virginia was the person who took Joe to the hospital when, on his birthday, he had his first heart attack in 2001. Joe died in the living room of her home in 2008. In addition to inheriting all of his papers, records, recordings, equipment, and musical instruments, she also inherited his debts. Virginia was the person who organized his home going celebration.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bluebird Music Alumni

I found Joe listed as a Bluebird Music Alumni in the second Bluebird Reunion booklet. 

Joe at the Bluebird Reunion

I found a picture of Joe in the Bluebird Reunion booklet from 1995. In the picture is drummer Bert Myrick who often played with Joe in the 1950s.