Personalities | Clifford Brown | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Trumpet, 1930–56)

The tragic death of Clifford Brown in a road accident robbed jazz of one of its brightest young stars, but even his truncated legacy has established his standing as a major figure and profound influence. He took up the trumpet at the age of 13, drawing on the influence of bebop stars Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro. The latter’s rich sonority and melodic lyricism made a particularly telling impact on the development of Brown’s own style.

He recorded with Lou Donaldson, J.J. Johnson and Art Blakey for Blue Note, and cut his own sessions for Pacific Jazz, but his best-known work was recorded in 1954–56, with the quintet he co-led with drummer Max Roach. His technical virtuosity and improvisational flair marked him out as a potential giant. He contributed several much-played compositions to the jazz repertoire, notably ‘Joy Spring’ and ‘Daahoud’.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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