Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Certified Letter from Widow to Harasser

Unfortunately, a relative of Joe's first wife is harassing me with false accusations. This began back in December of 2014 and continues to this day. In June of 2015, Joe's widow sent a certified letter to the accuser. Without mentioning the name of the accuser, those who choose to collude with her may want to contemplate the truths contained in the letter. Below is a copy of the content:

I read your Blog and want to clarify some of the issues you raised as you have been misinformed.

First of all, no one has gone into your Aunt's home and 'ripped her off.' The tapes Steve Griggs referred to in his presentation did NOT come out of Francis's home. They came from Joe's collection. When he moved from Seattle he took his tapes and the things he wanted with him; later divorced Francis and remarried. He established a new home and family and a new life. We were together over 25 years. After he died his current family made copies of his professional photos and shared them with Francis for her family. All of his property now, is legally owned by me; his widow.

When we heard about Steve writing the book, we made contact, gave him copies of photos and information for the book. So, the name calling is unwarranted. We believe Joe's story needs to be told.

You also inferred the African American Community was being 'ripped off.' Where were these concerned people when the CAMP/Central Area Motivation Program closed; the base of operations for BAM/Black Academy of Music? They threw out all of his teaching materials, posters, music and tapes etc. It just happened that a janitor from the Church saw his things, he was able to salvage some of it. Joe was deeply hurt by this disregard for the work he had been doing. You talk about being Joe's family. When he got sick and was bed ridden the last year and half; why didn't you or others make contact, try to visit him while he was alive, or even call to see how he was doing? Francis knew how to reach him if anyone had asked. Even though he never had any children; and there are no blood lines between you; he would have welcomed and no doubt enjoyed contact. Various friends and his current family was with him; however there was no contact from his previous family. So how can you say you are losing your family legacy? If you knew him at all you had to be very young and are only going on what you have heard. His legacy is his own; no one else did this work but him.

Your assessment is very transparent. Now that some think there may be profits in his tapes and his story; people want to get on the bandwagon. Anyone that really knew Joe, knows that all of the tapes he recorded was made with idea and hope that they would one day be shared with other music students coming up. That was his goal, but got sick before he could finish and had very little support in the process.

Joe was all about education and sharing and bringing all people; without prejudice, together through music; the Universal Language. Your controversial assessment only serves to discredit and disrespect his legacy. He was truly unique in his thinking and his teachings. He was never really given the honor and recognition he deserved in life. His story will be told.

Mrs. V. Brazil

Friday, October 20, 2017

"Joseph Brazil" Performed at KNKX

This is the overture to A Cup of Joe Brazil, an original program of stories and music about the Detroit-born saxophonist who taught jazz history at UW. Vibraphonist Susan Pascal's husband Dave worked in one of Joe's bands. Trumpeter Jay Thomas' first jam session was with Joe Brazil.

A Cup of Joe Brazil on Playback

You can listen to A Cup of Joe Brazil for free at the Seattle Public Library Playback site: https://playback.spl.org/albums/steve-griggs-ensemble-a-cup-of-joe-brazil

King County Court Records

Research continues into the life of Joe Brazil. At the King County Court I found a 1989 Superior Court case that Frances Brazil brought against a roofing contractor for incomplete work on the Seattle house that Joe gave her. In the court documents, Frances is described as an unmarried person.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Maker versus Unmaker

In Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker, Alvin Miller (a maker) takes on his life mission of defeating his nemesis, the Unmaker.

I, like Alvin, am a maker. I don't need to take things from others. When I am influenced by others, I credit them for my inspiration. My program, A Cup of Joe Brazil, are my own words and my own compositions from my research and my own curiosity. I am telling the story of a person from whom I am learning. When I use other people's words, I attribute the quote to the source. When I play other people's music, I cite the composer. When I publish recordings of other people's music, I pay mechanical fees to the holders of the copyright.

This holds true for all the music and writing I have published, including my recordings with Elvin Jones and programs about WWII Japanese American incarceration, homicide of John T. Williams by Seattle Police, broken treaty promises to the Duwamish tribe, and musical settings of poetry by sculptor James Washington.

I encourage people to be makers. I will not let an Unmaker stop me from making.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lyrics to "Joseph Brazil"

I wrote lyrics to the first track on A Cup of Joe Brazil even though they were not recorded.

"Joseph Brazil, black music will show us to live and to love, not to kill.
Joseph Brazil, teaches us still - look for the truth and the search is the thrill.
No one stops you. No one tops you.
Joseph Brazil, black music will lift us to equal the king of the hill."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Joe's Heirs

Unfortunately, Joe Brazil had no biological children. His first and second wives both had children from other relationships. His second wife assumed Joe's rights and obligations when he passed in 2008. I have no legal claim to any of Joe's physical and intellectual property. Joe's second wife has granted me access to this property but all ownership remains with her.

Here's another example: John Coltrane's second wife Alice Coltrane inherited John's property, not his first wife Naima. Naima's daughter Saeeda (Antonia [Syeeda] Austin) (John's stepdaughter) has no claim on the estate of his stepfather, not even the song John wrote that bears her name "Syeeda's Song Flute." All of John's estate went to Alice and upon her death, I believe, went to Ravi. Biographers like Lewis Porter or Yasuhiro Fujioka may be granted rights by the estate to publish materials in that estate.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Joe Interviews His Father

Joe taped an interview with his father, Hilliard. Hilliard tells the story of becoming a photographer in rural Georgia during the early 1900s. The self-taught and entrepreneurial approach was a precursor of Joe's path in life.

Joe Taped Everything

Joe taped phone calls, classes, TV shows, etc. A tape labeled "Joe and Frankie" from 1977 contains an argument with his first wife. It provides an intimate window into Joe's personal life which suggests why Joe moved out and married another woman.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Press Release for "The Secret Life of John Chapman"

I have recently acquired an original press release from CBS that lists the cast of "The Secret Life of John Chapman." Joe Brazil plays the role of Boss.

Reggie Workman on Joe Brazil

During a panel discussion of A Love Supreme hosted by Bill T. Jones, bassist Reggie Workman told a story about Joe Brazil bringing a car full of books to a meeting on Black Culture. I plan to share more of this story soon. In the picture are (left to right) Bill T. Jones, Ashley Kahn, John Lewis, Reggie Workman. Photo by Yasuhiro Fujioka.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Free concert in Blanche Lavizzo Park

One day after Joe Brazil's 90th birthday we will celebrate with a free presentation of A Cup of Joe Brazil at 1pm August 26 in the Blanche Lavizzo Park amphitheater (2100 S. Jackson). The performance is sponsored by the Office of Arts & Culture Arts in the Parks Program.