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Don Braden is an impressive tenor saxophonist whose style pushes at the boundaries of hard bop while staying a solid part of the tradition. He was raised in Louisville, KY, and began on tenor when he was 13; within two years, he was playing professionally. He played in the McDonald's All-American High School Jazz Band and, although he studied engineering at Harvard (1981-1984), Braden also played in the Harvard jazz band. In 1984, Braden moved to New York, working with the Harper Brothers, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Betty Carter (with whom he made his recording debut). He toured with Wynton Marsalis (as Branford Marsalis' first replacement) during 1986-1987 and since then has played in many settings, including with Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, J.J. Johnson, Tom Harrell, Art Farmer, and the Mingus Big Band. As a leader, Braden has recorded for Criss Cross, Landmark, Epicure, and RCA.