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Thu, 10.30.1930

Clifford Brown, Jazz Trumpeter born

Clifford Brown

On this date, Clifford Brown, a Black jazz trumpeter, was born in 1930.

He was born in Wilmington, DE, and attended Delaware State College and Maryland State College.  He played in Philadelphia before joining Tadd Dameron's band in Atlantic City, NJ, then Lionel Hampton's big band for a European tour in 1953. He then played with leading West Coast musicians and the Art Blakey Quintet. In 1954, he and drummer Max Roach formed the Brown-Roach quintet, quickly becoming one of the outstanding postwar jazz units.

From 1953, when Brown began recording frequently, his style was fully mature. Influenced by Fats Navarro, he developed an innate sense of solo form, a rich tone, and a virtuoso technique in all trumpet ranges.  His style included high notes, great rhythmic detail, and a generous incorporation of grace notes and varied inflections, all of which he played with rare grace and ease. He was especially noted for the melodic qualities of his improvising, which often flowed in long phrases.

Most of his recordings are consistent, at his best in the Brown-Roach At Basin Street and Sonny Rollins Plus Four albums (both 1956). The jazz standard "Joy Spring" (1954) is one of the best-known songs that he wrote. Brown was the most influential trumpeter of his generation; the lyrical aspects of his music influenced many trumpeters, including Lee Morgan and Booker Little, and his technical brilliance especially influenced trumpeters such as Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard.

Brown was noted for lyricism, sound clarity, and technique grace. He was a principal figure in the hard-bop idiom.  Clifford Brown and Richie Powell, the quintet's pianist, died in an accident on June 26, 1956, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

To Become a Musician or Singer


A Century of Jazz, by Roy Carr
Da Capo Press, New York
Copyright 1997
ISBN 0-306-80778-5

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