Don Braden | Luminosity

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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by Don Braden

Bright, soulful, grooving music, intended to inspire strong, positive energy!
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Luminosity (First Steps)
6:19 $0.99
2. Jive Turkey (West Side)
5:56 $0.99
3. Bud Powell
4:55 $0.99
4. Do Love Me Do
7:21 $0.99
5. The Time We Shared
5:32 $0.99
6. I Could Write a Book
5:19 $0.99
7. Chelsea Bridge
6:22 $0.99
8. Walkin' the Walk
6:18 $0.99
9. A Whole New World
5:44 $0.99
10. Driftin'
6:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Don Braden – Luminosity / Liner Notes

I love music because it stimulates us on so many levels. As in other art forms, it encourages us to expand beyond our “functional” existence and is capable of inspiring our emotions, imagination and soul to fly. My favorite music, the music I listen to time and time again, has that effect on me. While listening, and for some time after, I feel better, stronger, and more energized. Often those effects also motivate me to be creative and productive.

However, playing music is even more powerful. That’s why I am a professional musician. I believe these effects are beneficial not only in my life but in sharing them with others.

Those who already know me tend to view me as an upbeat, positive person. I see the glass as half full. I learned early in life that if I project good thoughts, good comes back (in fact, whatever I project, good or bad, comes back). So I have consciously chosen to adopt a positive mindset and in doing so have implemented a host of specific tactics and habits to support that mindset. This choice has paid off as I am happy, healthy, strong and prosperous, and I work through life’s various challenges as constructively as I can. I give thanks every single day. I feel luminous: bright, energetic, inspired…and from that feeling comes the title of this project.

The jazz music on Luminosity is intended to express my optimistic, go-out-and-get-it-done point of view and, I hope, to enhance similar feelings in the listener. I believe the power of the jazz language and style is based on the energy, intelligence, resourcefulness and soulfulness of the Africans and African-Americans who withstood American slavery and the many other challenges of life after slavery. Over decades, jazz has evolved marvelously to be expressed and shared by everyone. It embodies freedom, fosters creativity, demonstrates intellect, symbolizes democracy, and inspires motion and emotion, while it entertains. It is a fantastic music style for conveying luminosity.

My Organix groups have been working together for over ten years, and our synergy is well developed. Drummer Cecil Brooks III is renowned for his high energy, dynamic grooves and attentiveness to musical detail. Kyle Koehler’s harmonic prowess, melodic clarity, swinging groove and robust blues feel make him one of the leading organists on the jazz scene. The three of us worked regularly at Cecil’s Jazz Club throughout its 10 year history, and we have lots of gigs and a number of recordings to our credit including The New Hang (HighNote, 2004), Workin’ (HighNote, 2006) and most recently, Full Circle (Creative Perspective, 2013). Full Circle features my long-time friend and colleague, the sultry and sassy vocalist Vanessa Rubin, along with big-toned and hard-swinging guitarist Dave Stryker, who also joins us on this recording.

Each tune on this CD allows me and my bandmates to express our respective and collective “luminance”. My tunes and arrangements can be challenging – especially harmonically – so we’re all on our toes. I enjoy pushing myself and my band; it forces us to do our homework. Subsequently, we (hopefully!) express ourselves soulfully and freely and create rich, substantive music. Cecil, Kyle and Dave always do an amazing job!

Naturally these songs have their own stories, so here’s a bit of information. The opening track Luminosity was inspired by John Coltrane’s Giant Steps (thus the subtitle “First Steps”), and similarly features a melody based on a descending major seventh chord. The chord progression features sections with harmonic motion in minor thirds (Giant Steps is built on major thirds).
I wrote Jive Turkey for a student band I was working with in West Orange, New Jersey (that’s why it is subtitled “West Side”). Its bass line is based on the classic Jaco Pastorius tune, The Chicken, and its title comes from one of the classic comedic “insults” of some of the zany 1970s African-American sitcoms I still sometimes watch. We played Bud Powell regularly in Roy Haynes’ band (I played with him from 1988-1998), and since then it’s been one of my favorite tunes.

I composed Do Love Me Do as the theme song for the Valentine’s Day episode of the Bill Cosby inspired Nickelodeon TV show Fatherhood. It features alto flute.

I originally composed The Time We Shared for Project Poetry Live, produced by the same great folks who founded Litchfield Jazz Camp which I’ve had the honor to head up for many years. The song was inspired by a student’s poem.
Claudio Roditi, one of our most respected trumpeters, is featured on the classic “American songbook” standard I Could Write a Book, which I arranged with him in mind.

2015 is the 100th year since the birth of the great composer/arranger, Billy Strayhorn, so that inspired me to add the lovely Chelsea Bridge, performed on solo saxophone. This arrangement is based on harmonic motifs that extend from the melody with different intervals for each A-section. In the first A, I use seconds (major and minor); 2nd A, I use thirds (major and minor); last A, I use fourths (perfect, augmented and diminished). In the final last A, I use straight chromatic steps.

Walkin’ the Walk was inspired by the great leaders with whom I’ve worked: the powerful, confident people who do what they say, and say what they do. They include Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, George Coleman and others.

When my daughter was little, I watched Disney’s “Alladin” many times with her and was consistently moved by the beauty and optimistic tone of A Whole New World. I knew it would be a great fit for flute, so I arranged the tune specifically for that instrument.

Herbie Hancock’s classic Driftin’ is another favorite that makes me smile every time I hear it, and that’s certainly central to the intent of this project. Soulful alto sax man Sherman Irby and I clearly have a blast playing together on this one!
I sincerely hope that Luminosity is as much fun to listen to as it was to make. Onwards and upwards – I hope to see you at the next gig!

- Don Braden, June 2015

Don Braden is a world class musician who has recorded and toured with a number of jazz luminaries as well as producing 18 albums as a leader. He spent his childhood in Louisville, Kentucky where he learned saxophone and flute while playing in school bands, and while exploring funk and rock music of the 1970s. He attended Harvard University as an Engineering major but decided to pursue his love of jazz, eventually becoming one of the “young lions” during the 1980s. Braden has composed for a variety of ensembles, from duo to symphonic orchestra, along with composing for TV and film. In addition Braden is a highly experienced Jazz educator, having taught at his alma mater, Harvard University, the Litchfield Jazz Camp and numerous clinics.



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