Ray Brown

Ray Brown’s powerful and resonant bass sound was a welcomed feature of bop sessions for more than a half-century. In his early years, he played in Pittsburgh. Brown arrived in New York in 1945. On his first day there, he met Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie hired him for both his small bands and his big band. “One Bass Hit”, and “Two Bass Hit”, were his early features. He can also be seen in 1947’s Jiving in Bebop with Dizzy Gillespie. Brown was a great soloist, but he wasn’t as good as Oscar Pettiford. His quick reflexes and ability of accompanying soloists in a swinging manner put him at the top of his game. He married Ella Fitzgerald after playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic. Their marriage lasted only between 1948-1952. While he led his own trio, he continued to support the singer. Brown was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1966) and recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s early versions. The bassist, Peterson, traveled the globe, played with top jazz musicians, and was famous. In the late 1950s, he began to play cello and used it on some of his own dates. Brown moved to Los Angeles after leaving Peterson. He worked in the studios and continued recording jazz. Brown also worked as a manager for several artists, including the Modern Jazz Quartet (Quincy Jones) and Quincy Jones. Since 1974, he played with the L.A. Four and helped to revive Gene Harris and Ernestine Anderson’s careers. He also recorded extensively for Pablo as well as Concord. The Ray Brown Trio, which included Gene Harris, Benny Green and Geoff Keezer as well as drummers Jeff Hamilton, Greg Hutchison and Greg Hutchison recorded for Telarc and Concord. He continued to tour until his death. On July 2, 2002, he died in his sleep as he was preparing for a show at Indianapolis. He released his last session that fall, in which he performed as a trio with Monty Alexander, pianist, and Russell Malone, guitarist. Allmusic

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