Real Good for Free: Don Braden Joins Williams Jazz Ensemble, 3/6/10

DonBradenSomething magical happens when you put a world-class soloist together with the power of a big band. If you don’t believe us, just head over to Williams College’s Chapin Hall in Williamstown, Mass. on Saturday night and marvel to the sound of sax master Don Braden and the Williams Jazz Ensemble.

In the contemporary jazz world, it might seem as though the big band has gone the way of the dinosaur, but right here in Nippertown, we’re fortunate enough to be blessed with several solidly swinging big bands, including Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble and the Empire Jazz Orchestra.

Williams College, too, is a lingering stronghold in the big band world, thanks to director Andy Jaffe. It’s a place where the music not only survives, but thrives.

The next big event combines the soulful sound of the great Don Braden with the sublime experience that is big band.

Don Braden’s resume is chockful of the names of jazz greats: Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Freddie Hubbard and Roy Haynes, just to name a few. In addition, Braden has recorded 14 albums as a bandleader, including his latest, “Gentle Storm.”

Born in Cincinnati, raised in Louisville and schooled at Harvard University, Braden is not only a well-known player and composer in the jazz world, but he also written and arranged for dance, film and a wide variety of music projects. Among other high profile composing honors, was his work for four years as co-music supervisor-composer for Bill Cosby’s most recent CBS-TV sitcom, “Cosby.”

For a swingin’ good time, catch tenor saxman Braden and the Williams Jazz Ensemble blowin’ up a storm at Williams College on Saturday. Showtime is 8pm, and admission is free.

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