Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ray Brown

“The Jazz giants-those that have lasted a long time-are a breed apart. They are not heroes free from the flaws of ordinary mortals. On the contrary, they seem to be more essentially human than most of us. Perhaps it’s because it takes extraordinary qualities to reach the top of a demanding profession and stay there. Whatever the reason, Ray Brown is one of those giants who through the eyes of the beholder has viewed him with awe as well as affection.” - Beatrice Richardson

Raymond Matthews Brown was born October 13, 1926, in Pittsburgh, PA. Ray started off with piano lessons at an early age, and when he saw how many kids at his school played piano, he decided he wanted to play trombone. He couldn’t afford one so he had to play whatever the school had extra of – the bass.

All throughout high school Ray listened and studied Duke Ellingtons tunes played on a jukebox, and studied Jimmy Blanton’s bass lines.

After high school Ray traveled with a few big band, but eventually decided to get a one-way ticket to New York. On his first night there, he ran into some luck and a friend who introduced him to Dizzy Gillespie, who was looking for a bass player and hired Ray on the spot.

This was the beginning of and long and successful career. Ray went on to play with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and singers such as Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn and Nancy Wilson. He is considered one of the best jazz bassists to have ever lived.

Before Duke Ellington died, Brown got the great opportunity of recording an album with him called, “This one’s for Blanton” – referring to Dukes old bassist and Browns inspiration.

One afternoon in 2002 after Ray had gotten back from a round off golf, he died in his sleep while taking a snooze before a gig in Indianapolis.

http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=864

http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles/archive/brown_ray.html

http://www.iaje.org/bio.asp?ArtistID=19

http://www.hopper-management.com/rb_bio_e.htm

7 Comments:

At 11/12/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Mistuh Bond said...

I like how comfortable this is. Usually they're all stiff and corn-starched.

 
At 11/12/2006 9:03 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

I really like the quotation in the beginning.

 
At 11/12/2006 9:23 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

I like how you basically just talked about his life up to his famousness...if thats a word

 
At 11/12/2006 9:51 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Good job on picking someone in your instrumental field.

 
At 11/12/2006 10:36 PM, Blogger Nat said...

I liked how you opened with a quote. I thought you did a little too much of an overview and not enough detail.

 
At 11/12/2006 11:07 PM, Blogger Becca said...

The bio is nice, but too widespread. I would focus on one part of his life more and go into detail. That said, nice job!

 
At 11/12/2006 11:14 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

The last sentence is really good. It was alittle short and spanned along time, instead of being in depth at one point of his life.

 

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