Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter

Overview

Although he died in a tragic car accident at twenty-five, Clifford Brown is widely considered one of the most important figures in the history of jazz, a trumpet player who ranks with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis and is a leading influence on contemporary jazz musicians. Now, in Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter, Nick Catalano gives us the first major biography of this musical giant.

Based on extensive interviews with Clifford ...

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Overview

Although he died in a tragic car accident at twenty-five, Clifford Brown is widely considered one of the most important figures in the history of jazz, a trumpet player who ranks with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis and is a leading influence on contemporary jazz musicians. Now, in Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter, Nick Catalano gives us the first major biography of this musical giant.

Based on extensive interviews with Clifford Brown's family, friends, and fellow jazz musicians, here is a fascinating portrait of a remarkable musician. Catalano depicts Brown's early life, showing how he developed a facility and dazzling technique that few jazz players have ever equaled. We read of his meteroic rise in Philadelphia, where he played with many of the leading jazz players of the 1950s, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker; his tour of Europe with Lionel Hampton, which made him famous; and his formation of the Brown-Roach Quintet with prominent drummer Max Roach--one of the most popular hard bop combos of the day. Catalano also shows that Brown was a remarkable individual--he grew up in a middle-class African-American home in Wilmington, Delaware, attended college, was a skilled mathematician, and had wide cultural interests. Moreover, in an era when many jazz players were either alcoholics or addicts, Brown was clean-living and drug free. Indeed, he became a role model for musicians who were struggling with drugs and had great influence in this area with one prominent colleague, tenor sax player Sonny Rollins.

Clifford Brown not only provides a colorful account of Brown's life but also features an informed analysis of his major recorded solos, highlighting Brown's originality and revealing why he remains a great influence on trumpet players today. It is a book that anyone with a serious interest in jazz will want to own.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This study of a vitally important artist is a book for all jazz collections."--Choice

"The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter is the first full biography of the man known as 'Brownie' and should be required reading for any serious jazz fan. Catalano's account will definitely have you, to paraphrase Benny Golson's famous composition, 'remembering Clifford'."--Alabama Times

"A generation before Wynton Marsalis, Clifford Brown exhibited a similar mastery of modern jazz phrasing, tone control, and trumpet technique. Alas, Brown was never destined to achieve the fame and rewards such rare talents deserved. His moving story with its wry mixture of triumph and tragedy is now told with rich detail in Nick Catalano's highly readable Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter."--Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz and West Coast Jazz

"The author's enthusiastic and well-researched summary of Brown's career should send jazz buffs back to their record collections for serious listening."--Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Long known as the jazz trumpeters' trumpeter, Clifford Brown has yet to gain wider recognition for his influence over the development of bebop. Born in Wilmington, Del., in 1930, Brown's trumpet playing was often described as uninspired, but intense practice led to a technically superb style that was lauded by such greats as Dizzy Gillespie. The modest, unpretentious trumpeter lived an unruffled life; his great discipline offered a different model for jazz musicians long under the influence of Charlie Parker's drug abuse. Catalano, the director of performing arts at Pace University, presents Brown's abbreviated life (he died in a car crash at age 25) in a terse, matter-of-fact manner, with scrupulous attention to detail. A vivid account of his 1953 adventures with Lionel Hampton's band (which included Art Farmer and Quincy Jones) in Europe is one of the few sections that delves deeply into Brown's musical genius, describing solos and specific performances, and praising his high energy and fun approach to trading fours with Farmer. In another chapter, Catalano recalls Brown's friendship with Max Roach, paying homage to such landmark recordings as "Delilah" and "Darn That Dream." While some jazz fans may tire of the meticulous recounting of facts, true buffs will be enthralled with the honest interviews and wide breadth of research this bio offers. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
The history of music in general, and jazz in particular, is filled with stories of legendary performers with blazing talent who succumb early to their own excesses. Brown's brief life and brilliant career prove to be the exception to that rule. He was a formally trained musician from a stable family in Wilmington, DE, when, in 1949, Dizzy Gillespie discovered his skill on the trumpet. Soon he was a major part of the next generation of bebop musicians, one that would take the genre to unimagined artistic heights. Brown's healthy lifestyle and studious attitude toward his craft proved to be as influential for a generation of jazz artists as his innovative work with drummer Max Roach. Unfortunately, a tragic auto accident in 1956 cost Brown his life and the world of jazz one of its most positive role models. Catalano's (director of cultural affairs and performing arts, Pace Univ.) well-researched look at the life and music of Brown will be a welcome addition to all serious music collections.--Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195144000
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/24/2001
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 587,789
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

A University Performing Arts director and Professor of Music and Literature at Pace University, Dr. Nick Catalano has played, produced, taught and written about jazz throughout his life. He has also had an extensive television career as a writer-producer of films and documentaries. Dr. Catalano lives and writes in New York and East Hampton.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
1 The Brown Family of Wilmington 3
2 Boysie Lowery and Howard High 16
3 On to Philadelphia 28
4 The Brink of Disaster 40
5 Rhythm 'n' Blues 53
6 The Month of June 65
7 European High Jinks 76
8 New York and Home 98
9 California Surprise 108
10 Brown and Roach, Inc. 122
11 Back to the East 136
12 Into 1956 159
Epilogue 186
Notes 189
Selected and Annotated Discography 197
Index 200
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