Joseph Brazil (August 25, 1927 – August 6, 2008) was an American jazz saxophonist and educator. Talented local musicians jammed with touring acts in his Detroit basement. He taught jazz at Garfield High School, co-founded the Black Music curriculum at the University of Washington, and founded the Black Academy of Music in Seattle. He appeared on Om (John Coltrane album) and the Roy Ayers album Ubiquity.
Joseph Brazil was born August 25, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1951 he purchased a home at 17846 Fleming Street, Detroit, MI 48212 where he lived with his brother and mother. He built a bar in the basement and installed a baby grand piano. Jam sessions in Joe's basement soon became legendary. Trumpeter Donald Byrd, saxophonists Sonny Red and Brazil, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Frank Gant played there. Tapes of saxophonist John Coltrane practicing were made at Joe's house. A tape of a jam session was recorded in Joe's basement on September 25, 1958 with trumpeter Donald Towns, saxophonists Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Brazil, Red, pianist Hugh Lawson, bassist Ernie Farrow, and drummer Roy Brooks. Euphonium player Kiane Zawadi (Bernard McKinney) and saxophonist Kenneth Winfrey lived down the street and often played at Joe's. Coltrane met drummer George Goldsmith in Joe's basement and once asked Goldsmith to substitute for drummer Elvin Jones. Pianist Alice Coltrane met her first husband John Coltrane in Joe's basement.
Brazil moved to Seattle to work as a tool maker at Boeing in 1961. In 1965 he sat in with John Coltrane at the Penthouse and recorded on flute with Coltrane in Lynnwood, Washington. The recording was released as Om on Impulse.
He taught at Garfield High School's Magnet Program with bassist Chuck Metcalf in 1968. He established the Black Academy of Music in 1967 with guitarist George Hurst. The faculty included trumpeter Floyd Standifer, saxophonist Jabo Ward, and bassist Milt Garred. The Black Student Union demanded that he be hired by the University of Washington School of Music. He taught at the University of Washington from 1969 to 1976 but was denied tenure.
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