About Joanne Brackeen
Her two-handed piano style may remind you at first of McCoy Tyner -- and there are similarities -- but Brackeen's playing is all her own, and she moves through shifting modal jazz and fiery Post-Bop changes with ease. One hand is fast and free, blazing through long twisting passages and sweeping back with a quick brush of the wrist, while the other hand angrily stomps out open-sounding chords and dissonant clusters of notes that were never intended to be together. Brackeen cut her teeth with players like Charles Lloyd and Dexter Gordon, then moved into Art Blakey's group as the first female member of the Jazz Messengers. After playing with Joe Henderson and Stan Getz in the '70s, she's gone on to record a stream of albums, each with its own grouping of cream-of-the-crop sidemen -- including young lions like Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard in later years.