Clifford Brown

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About Clifford Brown

Other than Miles Davis—in many ways his stylistic foil—Clifford Brown ranks as the most influential jazz trumpeter to emerge in the '50s. His small but crucial catalog of recordings captures lightning in a bottle: the sound of a young prodigy with unprecedented abilities advancing the bebop style and pointing toward a future beyond it. Born in 1930 in Wilmington, DE, Brown honed his trumpet chops by playing in college bands and road-tripping to Philadelphia jam sessions. At the encouragement of Dizzy Gillespie, Brown relocated to New York City in the early '50s, impressing local heavyweights like Charlie Parker and Art Blakey with his warm tone and technically stunning soloing—pyrotechnic without sacrificing fluidity and melodic beauty. His most celebrated recordings are with his quintet co-led by Max Roach; their self-titled 1954 release is a canonical document of the hard-bop era. In one of music’s most harrowing cases of a career ended far too early, Brown died in a car accident in 1956, at the age of 25.

Wilmington, DE, United States
October 30, 1930
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