Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 13:12:17 -0500 (EST)
From: Brad Weaver <>
Subject: RE: Who was Clifford? (Longish)

Ya know Clifford isn't talked about nearly enough, and I'm not sure why.  I would like to see more info on him on the web.  The majority of the jazz based web sites don't make any kind of reference to him.  I mean how do you compare with charts such as cherokee and sandu?

     $.02 from Brad

On Wed, 4 Feb 1998, Robert Stickney wrote:
> Karen:
> Clifford was Clifford Brown, aka Brownie.  An incredible hard bop trumpeter
> who had a fairly short career due to his untimely death at the age of 26.
> You can learn more about him at the Clifford Brown Jazz Foundation Website
> (  I would strongly recommend checking
> out some of his albums, particularly the Blue Note Sessions. (If you're
> current teacher is teaching you jazz and doesn't know who Clifford is, I
> would start looking for another teacher).
> Here are two snippets from that website that will give you a brief
> background on Clifford (they also have his discography there):
> Leonard Feather
> " Clifford was born Oct. 30, 1930, in Wilmington, Del., he received his
> first trumpet from his father upon entering senior high school in 1945, and
> joined the school band shortly afterward. It was not until a year or so
> later that the mysterious world of jazz chord changes and improvisation
> began to shed its veil for Brownie. A talented musician and jazz enthusiast
> named Robert Lowery was credited by Brownie for the unveiling.
> "The teen-aged trumpeter began playing gigs in Philadelphia after in
> graduating in 1948. That same year, he entered Delaware State College on a
> music scholarship, but there was one slight snag; the college happened to be
> momentarily short of a music department.
> "Brownie remained there a year anyway, majoring in mathematics, and taking
> up a little spare time by playing some Philadelphia dates with such
> preeminent bop figures as Kenny Dorham, Max Roach, J. J. Johnson and Fats
> Navarro. He acquired considerable inspiration and encouragement from
> Navarro., who was greatly impressed by the youngster's potential.
> "After the year at Delaware State, Brownie had a chance to enter a college
> that did boast a good music program, namely Maryland State. They also had a
> good 16-piece band, and he learned a lot about both playing and arranging.
> One evil evening in June 1950, when, on his way home from a gig, he was
> involved in the first of three automobile accidents, the last of which was
> to prove fatal.
> "For a whole year in 1950-51, Clifford Brown had plenty of opportunity for
> contemplation, but precious little for improving his lip. It took just about
> a year, plus some verbal encouragement from Dizzy Gillespie, to set him back
> on the path from which he had been so rudely sideswiped.
> "He had his own group in Philly for a while, then joined the Chris Powell
> combo, with which he was working at Cafe Society when the [6/9/53] date with
> Lou Donaldson was cut. There followed a stint with Tadd Dameron in Atlantic
> City, after which he joined Lionel Hampton, touring Europe with him until
> the fall of 1953. In 1954 Brownie won the Down Beat critics' poll as the new
> star of the year. Moving out to California, he formed an alliance with Max
> Roach that was to last until death broke up the team."
> Liner notes, Memorial Album (Blue Note BST 81526)
> Benny Golson
> "It was on the night of June 27, 1956. At that time I was playing in Dizzy
> Gillespie's band, and that night we were on the stage of the Apollo Theatre
> in New York. The first show ended and we came off the stage. After the
> intermission, everyone was preparing to return to the stage. Suddenly,
> Walter Davis, Jr. ran on stage while crying, and said to everyone, `You
> heard? You heard? Brownie was killed yesterday (June 26, 1956).'
> "Of course, no musicians walking on stage could believe it. Some covered
> their faces with their hands and said, `Oh no!' Everyone couldn't move with
> shock. With tears all over, Walter said, `Clifford Brown was killed in a car
> accident yesterday! Pianist Richie Powell and his wife also killed!' Still I
> can't believe it. I felt like I almost fainted. That such a sweet guy should
> die in a car crash! That Richie Powell and his wife should die with him!
> "Then the stage director shouted, `It's time, everyone! Play!' No one could
> do anything, although we took our seats, but of course we couldn't play.
> Dizzy somehow encouraged us, and the curtain was raised. Many of the
> musicians were crying while playing, and the music tended to be cut off from
> time to time. I said to myself, `This is a nightmare! It's a nightmare!' And
> I tried to awaken from the nightmare. But the next morning I found Brownie's
> death in the paper.
> "For some time after that, all the musicians talked about was Clifford
> Brown."
> Liner notes, Jams 2 (EmArcy 195 J 2), by Kiyoshi Koyama
> That should get you started.
> Hope this helped,
> Robert Stickney