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JohnS

Clifford Brown

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It's fifty years ago today that we lost Brownie.

To remember and celebrate Brownie's life and contribution the Portsmouth Jazz Society have commisiond tenor player Bobby Wellins and trumpeter Gary Kavanagh to put together a group to play some of Brownie's compositions, many of which seem undervalued or underplayed imo. The performance is tonight and we are looking forward to a special evening.

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I remember with some clarity hearing about Clifford Brown's death several days after the event. Even in in far off Cape Town, the news filtered through. I had two Brownie albums at that time, and loved them both ... but the significance of the gap that his death woud leave did not hit me the same way that Charlie Parker's death had. It was only after acquiring the rest of his recorded legacy that I began to understand how much jazz had lost by his early death.

See this article ....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...er=emailarticle

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The Washington Post surprisingly had an article on Brownie in today's style section. I can't link to it, but it was pretty good.

Bertrand.

Correction:

When I started typing this, Garth's message was not posted yet. By the time my message posted, his showed up. So you can link to the Washington Post article now.

Edited by bertrand

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If not one of the greatest tragedies in jazz, it is in the top 3.

Edited by Hardbopjazz

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The Washington Post surprisingly had an article on Brownie in today's style section. I can't link to it, but it was pretty good.

Bertrand.

Its linked in Garth's post directly above yours.

Nice article, but I have to wonder about this statement:

Brown refused to use drugs, and his quiet example had begun to change the reprobate image of musicians, for whom booze and heroin were part of the jazz life.

First of all, how much was it common knowledge among fans or observers that Brownie abstained? Only if it was widely known would it even be possible for such a change to be affected.

Secondly, if we accept that Brown could have this effect, how much of an effect on the "reprobate image of musicians" can one man have, especially considering how short his time was in the jazz spotlight?

I think the writer is reaching here. Perhaps if Brown had lived though ...

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I'd turned 14 that May and had asked my parents if, as a belated birthday present, they would take me to the Brown-Roach Quintet's late-June Chicago engagement at the Modern Jazz Room on Dearborn St. (The only way a 14-year-old could get in to a club where drinks were served was to be accompanied by an adult -- at least it worked that way at the Blue Note.) As I recall, the issue of Down Beat that printed reactions from the community to Brown's death included a particularly anguished one from Dizzy.

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I am surprised by how little response this thread had received today ... I wonder if the genius of Clifford Brown is truly appreciated by many on this board who are not that acquainted with his music. I know that we try to avoid disparaging comparisons, but for instance Lee Morgan gets an amazing amount of attention here (Is it because he was a Blue Note recordings star?), and IMHO he couldn't hold a valve to Clifford (or Art Farmer either, for that matter). Still ... you had to be there when Clifford first appeared on the scene.

For those few reading this, you might enjoy learning how I became aware/interested in Clifford Brown. In my early teen years (12-15) I was very much into the west-coast stuff, and tried to get as many albums from labels such as Pacific Jazz, and Contemporary as I could. This was not easy in South Africa, and I used to give my hard-earned pocketmoney to the older brothers of many of my friends who were in the merchant marine, sailing between Cape Town and New Orleans. I used to give them lists of albums I wanted taken from reviews and ads in Metronome magazine, and they would try to find these albums for me while in port in the U.S. One time my "buyer" returned with this album on 10" Pacific Jazz that he had seen, and thought that I would like. I had never heard of Clifford Brown, (I was not yet into Blakey and the Messengers) as the album had just been released, and not yet advertised ... It was called "Clifford Brown Ensemble Featuring Zoot Sims" ... and featured several of my west coast favorites such as Bob Gordon on baritone, Russ Freeman on piano, Joe Mondragon on bass, Stu Williamson on valve trombone, and Shelly Manne on drums ... the great, tight arrangements were by Jack Montrose. Clifford was the unknown quantity for me, but I listened, and listened, and listened .. and by the end of the first evening I was a total convert! Just imagine the thrill of hearing "Daahoud," "Joy Spring," "Bones For Jones," and "Tiny Capers" for the very first time!! I spent the next few years trying to get every piece of music by him that I could lay my hands on ... but it wasn't until I moved to England in 1958 that I was able to get a full set of the Emarcy albums ... and as I said in my earlier post, it was then that I fully understood what an enormous lacuna his death has left in the history of jazz trumpet playing.

Also, as I noted earlier, perhaps you had to be there when all this happened ... Clifford was unique, and his replacement has yet to appear. God Knows! where he would have taken his talent if he had lived ...

Edited by garthsj

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I am surprised by how little response this thread had received today ... I wonder if the genius of Clifford Brown is truly appreciated by many on this board who are not that acquainted with his music. I know that we try to avoid disparaging comparisons, but for instance Lee Morgan gets an amazing amount of attention here (Is it because he was a Blue Note recordings star?), and IMHO he couldn't hold a valve to Clifford (or Art Farmer either, for that matter). Still ... you had to be there when Clifford first appeared on the scene.

For those few reading this, you might enjoy learning how I became aware/interested in Clifford Brown. In my early teen years (12-15) I was very much into the west-coast stuff, and tried to get as many albums from labels such as Pacific Jazz, and Contemporary as I could. This was not easy in South Africa, and I used to give my hard-earned pocketmoney to the older brothers of many of my friends who were in the merchant marine, sailing between Cape Town and New Orleans. I used to give them lists of albums I wanted taken from reviews and ads in Metronome magazine, and they would try to find these albums for me while in port in the U.S. One time my "buyer" returned with this album on 10" Pacific Jazz that he had seen, and thought that I would like. I had never heard of Clifford Brown, (I was not yet into Blakey and the Messengers) as the album had just been released, and not yet advertised ... It was called "Clifford Brown Ensemble Featuring Zoot Sims" ... and featured several of my west coast favorites such as Bob Gordon on baritone, Russ Freeman on piano, Joe Mondragon on bass, Stu Williamson on valve trombone, and Shelly Manne on drums ... the great, tight arrangements were by Jack Montrose. Clifford was the unknown quantity for me, but I listened, and listened, and listened .. and by the end of the first evening I was a total convert! Just imagine the thrill of hearing "Daahoud," "Joy Spring," "Bones For Jones," and "Tiny Capers" for the very first time!! I spent the next few years trying to get every piece of music by him that I could lay my hands on ... but it wasn't until I moved to England in 1958 that I was able to get a full set of the Emarcy albums ... and as I said in my earlier post, it was then that I fully understood what an enormous lacuna his death has left in the history of jazz trumpet playing.

Also, as I noted earlier, perhaps you had to be there when all this happened ... Clifford was unique, and his replacement has yet to appear. God Knows! where he would have taken his talent if he had lived ...

Great story! In some ways, I feel that us young guys are a bit spoilt by having so much music readily available to us - increasingly now with downloads, etc. It's hard to imagine how much more one would savour/treasure etc. recordings which were so hard to come by...

Clifford Brown IMHO was the greatest bop/hard bop trumpeter, bar none (obviously Dizzy and Navarro are there or thereabouts). His melodic imagination was extraordinary. And what a tone!

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Clifford was truly unique, the thrill of his playing is something else. Recently got the Brownie Lives Cd from Fresh Sounds with sessions from 1955 and 1956 with Willie Jones (?) subing for Max on some tracks. Not a bad live session but it doesn't quite fire on all cyclinders. Sound quality pretty good on the Carnegie Hall session from 1955 (with Land) less good on the later session but perfectly acceptable.

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Nice article.

It's good to see that 50 years later someone remembers enough to put it in the paper.

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I see that Lonehill (yuck) has got their clammy little hands on "Clifford and Max -- Live at the Beehive," originally on Columbia LPs Sound ain't great on the LPs, and I don't imagine that Lonehill could do anything with it, but this is the hottest Clifford in every sense -- quality, inspiration, and sheer heat. Also, and inseparable from this, Max plays out of his ******* mind. Rollins and Nicky Hill, Billy Wallace on piano.

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Clifford had an amazing musical mind. And a beautiful sound. Undoubtedly a wonderful person.

I'd love to see someone get authorization from his wife and estate and put together the best possible sounding set of the unofficial material that is circulating, with a detailed booklet. This could be six or seven cds or more and be a real boon to collectors and musicians!

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I am a big fan of Clifford Brown! sad anniversary.

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Clifford had an amazing musical mind. And a beautiful sound. Undoubtedly a wonderful person.

I'd love to see someone get authorization from his wife and estate and put together the best possible sounding set of the unofficial material that is circulating, with a detailed booklet. This could be six or seven cds or more and be a real boon to collectors and musicians!

I certainly second this motion. Unfortunately his wife died about two years ago. I met her once at one of Ken Poston's west coast weekends, and she was a charming, and well-informed lady. (She was there when the music from the PJ album "The Immortal Clifford Brown" was very effectively recreated by Jack Montrose, also sadly no longer with us, with Carl Saunders doing the trumpet solos ). Clifford's son, Clifford Brown, Jr. does a regular afternoon stint on KCSM-FM .. a wonderful jazz radio station .... and he does a fine job. KCSM is available on the net and worth keeping on your desktop.

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Clifford had an amazing musical mind. And a beautiful sound. Undoubtedly a wonderful person.

I'd love to see someone get authorization from his wife and estate and put together the best possible sounding set of the unofficial material that is circulating, with a detailed booklet. This could be six or seven cds or more and be a real boon to collectors and musicians!

I certainly second this motion. Unfortunately his wife died about two years ago. I met her once at one of Ken Poston's west coast weekends, and she was a charming, and well-informed lady. (She was there when the music from the PJ album "The Immortal Clifford Brown" was very effectively recreated by Jack Montrose, also sadly no longer with us, with Carl Saunders doing the trumpet solos ). Clifford's son, Clifford Brown, Jr. does a regular afternoon stint on KCSM-FM .. a wonderful jazz radio station .... and he does a fine job. KCSM is available on the net and worth keeping on your desktop.

Thanks Garth, I couldn't remember if she was still with us or not. . . .Sorry to hear she is not. . . :mellow:

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Clifford Brown left us 66 years ago today. I'm spinning this one right now:

Ni5qcGVn.jpeg

The TOCJ retains the original LP order, which really works. The RVG, which significantly adds 8 tracks, scrambles the original order. 

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It is amazing how much he recorded in such a brief life and that several of his songs have long been jazz standards. There are plenty of veterans who are prolific songwriters where you could ask most jazz fans, name two compositions of the artist and you would get no answer.

 

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5 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

It is amazing how much he recorded in such a brief life and that several of his songs have long been jazz standards. There are plenty of veterans who are prolific songwriters where you could ask most jazz fans, name two compositions of the artist and you would get no answer.

 

I made a proclamation on the melodic genius of "Joy Spring" on another forum, and was amazed to get a reply from a young self-proclaimed 'genius' from the UK that it was quite ordinary. The young 'artiste' released his first album recently, and I wasn't surprised to hear the record was the aural equivalent of a vomitorium.

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In the midst of an impromptu Clifford Brown Memorial Celebration, this one is now spinning, the ballad feature "Once In A While" an absolute gem:

Ny05NTU4LmpwZWc.jpeg

The BN Works Series has some staying power.

I wonder how old Lee Morgan was when he first heard Clifford Brown. Listening to Brown, you can almost hear the teen Morgan putting together how he was going to sound as a soloist. Morgan was 17 when Brown died. 

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Now onto:

Mi01MTAzLmpwZWc.jpeg

I'm not the biggest Lou Donaldson fan, but I'll say that this is perhaps my very favorite playing of his. And Brown is on fire.

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And, rounding out the evening:

MjYtMzAyMy5qcGVn.jpeg

 

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2 hours ago, Late said:

Now onto:

Mi01MTAzLmpwZWc.jpeg

I'm not the biggest Lou Donaldson fan, but I'll say that this is perhaps my very favorite playing of his. And Brown is on fire.

Me too. I can barely believe that it's the same guy on his own recordings. 

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17 hours ago, sgcim said:

I made a proclamation on the melodic genius of "Joy Spring" on another forum, and was amazed to get a reply from a young self-proclaimed 'genius' from the UK that it was quite ordinary. The young 'artiste' released his first album recently, and I wasn't surprised to hear the record was the aural equivalent of a vomitorium.

I'm sure he's an "artiste" who is of no interest and will never come close to approaching the quality of Clifford Brown's compositions and recordings. It is puzzling why so many young artists persist in filling their CDs with originals. Every once in awhile, one of them surprises me, but all too often, they come off as either knockoffs or run of the mill songs that don't stick in one's mind. I've heard that some of their mentors encourage them to write a lot, because they aren't making royalties from playing other's compositions. But if the CD ends up in the 99 cent cutout bins, they won't be cashing in on royalties. Even veteran artists who are prolific songwriters usually include a hefty amount of standards and/or songs by fellow jazz artists when they play concerts.

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Genius if for nothing more than Richie Powell's intro.

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