Sie sind auf Seite 1von 15

Geneva Griffin

My daddy was a person who loved music and, I guess he must have had some musical talent but it
never had a chance to be developed. But he loved music and he had all these musical instruments
in the house. We always had a piano. He had a guitar, a violin, he had a trumpet and whats the
other thing called, a cornet, I cant remember if he had a saxophone or not. And he kept hoping that
one of us children would be an instrumentalist.

This particular time this guy said, hey Cliff, I heard theyre hiring at the factory. Lets go up there and
see if we can get on! And I can see the look that Clifford gave him, and he said, What did you say
man? He repeated it. And Clifford said Man, Im a musician, I dont work!

He was the runt of the family. He was a little person. None of my brothers were tall, the tallest one
was 510. But he was the youngest child and the smallest one. I guess he was kind of a mothers
pet, you know. He was always real good to my mother. He was just kind of special to her I guess.

He was proud as he could be. He was proud of me, proud of my sister. He was just a proud daddy.
A very loving caring kind of father. He didnt have any education of any consequence, cause he had
a hard life himself. My mother probably called him indulging, as poor as we were, he would go to a
second hand store - Clifford had a, I think he bought that new, he had an airplane, you know how kids
have these carts with pedals and you push your feet - he had a silver airplane that daddy had bought
him and he loved it passionately. See, daddy would buy used toys a lot and fix em up and paint em
and we didnt know the difference, we didnt care. I had forgotten about that. He bought that brand
new. So that was something!

Leon Brown
When he was about 15 or 16 he started playing with a few local bands and theyd have a point in the
playing where everybody got excited but him! He took his time. And he never said anything against
anybody. If he couldnt say nothing good about you, he didnt say nothing bad.

Clifford had been playin, up in Philadelphia, and he had played that Saturday night, and this was
Sunday morning and I wake up and go down to his room. And hes in the closet playing trumpet, with
the door closed. Practicing, Sunday morning. So that lets you know that he must have done a lot of
practicing.

When he was incapacitated, everybody in the neighborhood could hear Clifford. And he would
practice, I know, practically all day long, off and on. And the thing that made him a little better still,
see after he broke his leg, he could not do no laborious work. So he decided that he might as well go
ahead and get with the trumpet all the way.

Boysie (Little Dukes)


I kind of put that group together, cause at that time, my band, we were very busy, so not to turn down
any jobs, I asked Clifford to form a band. So he formed a band called the Little Dukes, and the jobs I
couldnt make I would throw them his way. (Tapes?) Its a lost past. I had a recording machine.
Theres a recording of Brownie and I ad-libbing Ornithology (ca. 1946). This was one of his first
solos. That happened in my basement. I was playing alto at the time. Thats it.

1 of 15
Ben Cashman
He use to hang around the bandstand, I managed a band called the Aces if Rhythm and it was like a
7 or 8 piece band. We had two horns and Brownie used to hang around the band all the time at the
rehearsals, and when wed play local dances. But the reason was, was that his teacher was Bob
Lowery, we called him Boysie. He taught Brownie mostly chords and Brownie would practice out of
Arbans. He used Arbans almost exclusively for his practice. He had such a poor tone, and it was
so sloppy. I never thought that he would amount to anything, to tell the truth, it was just a total
surprise to me. And then I went to FL and I came back there a couple of years later and Boysie said
Brownies really blowin and I want you to hear him. So he took me down to a little club, I think it
was called The Baby Grand, in Wilmington and I never heard anything like that in my life. It was just
like you hear Clifford now on record. It was just a little bar, but he was blowin! It just totally knocked
me out, because I knew the guy when he couldnt blow his nose! And it was just a short time that he
blossomed. It was like Chopin or something. How could a guy get that kind of technique in that short
time? It really was amazing to me. Ill never forget it.

Howard Band 1948 Sunday Morning Star (April, May & June)
Class officers of the 12A class at Howard high school have been elected for the second semester.
Rosalind Goodrich is the new president, Milton Stanley is vice-president, Lois Adams, secretary, and
Clifford Brown, treasurer.

With the help of various other organizations at Howard, the annual festival of the band and choir was
held before a capacity audience. Trumpet soloist, Clifford Brown, who played the "Carnival of Venice"
by Del Staigers, was well received. Harry R. Andrews directed both band and choir.

The Esquires," Howard's dance orchestra, gave a performance on Thursday morning during the
preliminary period. Vocalists were Clifton Lewis, who sang All The Things You Are; Hazel Snead,
who sang The Man I Love; Conwell Carrington, Body and Soul, and Lola Bell, "Surrender." The
Esquires were under the direction of Clifford Brown.

Howard's military band under the direction of Harry Andrews in, navy blue and gold attire, appeared
before the student body for the first time in their new cadet uniforms of navy blue and white with the
drum major and twirlers arrayed in white and gold, at the junior high assembly on Friday.

"Carnival of Venice" by Del Staigers, was presented by the potential concert trumpet soloist of the
band, Clifford Brown.

The Esquires," Howard's dance orchestra under the direction of Clifford Brown, presented their
renditions of "Two O' Clock Jump," "Surrender," "920 Special" and "Soda Pop" as the second unit of
the concert.

Dean Jenkins, piano (Carnival of Venice at Howard High)


It was a heck of a scene! Well, actually we didnt ever realize how much he had done when he did it,
but several of the older musicians could grasp the importance of it. It took them by storm. Yeah, it
was so flawless. The teacher, I think Mrs. Woodard played piano. She taught music at school.

He did something with a little trio that he and the bassist I was tellin you about, Bobby Burton and a
pianist that they called Donald Criss. His name is Abdul (Yachya) or something like that. They did a
thing that Brownie wrote called Blue Feathers and that overwhelmed them too. Just a little trio
thing. He was a very prolific writer.

2 of 15
Johnny Coles Sunday afternoons - ca. 1949-50
There would always be like a battle of the trumpets. Sometimes it would be Clifford and I and Miles.
One time it was Miles , I, Clifford and Fats Navarro. We were uptown & they were downtown. Both at
Elks homes. This particular event we both were playing uptown. One uptown, One downtown. And
where Miles and I was, which was right up here on Broad Street, the place was packed, right? So we
played the first set and we get a call and we go downtown and listen to Clifford and Fats. We stayed
the whole set! And when we came back, nobody had moved. Everybody was just sittin and waiting.
But that was stupendous we didnt realize the full impact at that time, until later years, of how people
were enthusiastic about the music. Its not like that today.

Chris Powell S & F Feb 1966


As a musician with the ability he had, I always thought he was too humble. It would always seem
that someone was trying to take advantage of him because of his humbleness. But he was a family
musician who worried a great deal about how his father and mother were making out. Hed send
money and call them more often than most musicians. Clifford was courteous and gentlemanly
almost too good to be true.

Vance Wilson (Chris Powell)


One time we were on the highway. We were in a long limousine. And at the time the doors opened
the opposite way that they do nowadays. It was a Cadillac. The whole band was in there. And I was
sittin in the middle seat with Clifford. And all of the sudden his door swung open. Since he was in
that accident his arm would go out of socket sometimes. And he was goin out the door! And I
grabbed him. That was another time. It seemed like that was the way he was suppose to go.

Chris Powell Oct 22, 1952 2 I Come From Jamaica


And a fair trumpet solo to round things out

Sam Dockery on Ida Mae (ca. 1952/1953)


There was a lot of talk when he married LaRue. I still know the young lady he dated before he left,
Ida Mae (Delane). He dated this young lady for years before he married LaRue. I think she was a
little older than Clifford because Clifford is my age and this lady is older than I am, and she was a little
better off than most musicians at that time. Her parents owned property, she drove a Cadillac, she
still has money. She was synonymous with that car. Clifford would drive it to Philly.

Jimmy Heath with J.J. Johnson - 1953


We first worked together with J.J. Johnson on his recording. On the recording with J.J., we recorded
Turnpike, which was I Got Rhythm changes, and J.J. bein a perfectionist, had already worked out
the ideas that he wanted to get on the record. And if he would miss a note, wed make another take.
And every take Clifford was playing a different solo on that cycle of 4 ths sequence that was in that
piece. Well, at that point the Blue Note people asked him to sign a contract with them, cause he was
so creative and innovative on every take.

Cecil Payne - baritone sax with Tadd Dameron


Brownie ate more ice cream than anybody I have ever known. He played trumpet the same way!

Benny (Golson) Remembers Clifford 10/12/61


You hear trumpet players, and as you listen, you realize that this one might play ballads beautifully,
another might play well only in the middle register, and still another might only be proficient in the
upper register and at fast tempos. A trumpeter might possess two of these instrumental attributes,

3 of 15
but Clifford had obtained all of them. He could change from a meek lamb, musically, into a fierce
tiger. He could play the bottom, top, loud, soft: he was playing the whole instrument.

Quincy Jones POGO (autobiography)


I loved Clifford. Some people called him Brownie, but I called him Pogo after a cartoon character from
a newspaper comic strip, because he was little and cool, and he wore this funny Pogo hat. He was
the sweetest, humblest, most intelligent cat in the world and the greatest trumpet player I've ever
known.

When we played the Band Box next door to Birdland, Hamp made the band dress up in purple
jackets, Bermuda shorts, and Tyrolean hats and play like bandoliers. We'd march up the steps to the
street behind Hamp, who beat his drumsticks on any available surface. Hamp didnt give a hoot about
looking cool. He was a showman and he'd do anything to bring people into clubs to catch his band.
While the rest of the band marched out, Clifford and I hung back, tying our shoes, pretending to be
busy, terrified that Mingus, Miles, Thelonious Monk, and Bird would see us.

A famous Belgian jazz critic named Carlos De Radinsky came by our hotel to interview me, Clifford,
and Monk Montgomery, the bass player. It was our first-ever European interview, so Clifford said,
"Let's get cool. First the three of us took our jackets off, put on the hotel's terry-cloth robes-which we
thought had been left behind-and our new Tyrolean hats, and poured tea into finger bowls normally
used to clean and soak fingernails. Clifford walked into the bathroom and spotted a tiny sink next to
the toilet. It was low to the ground. It had two faucets on it. He said, "What's that fountain for?" I said,
"I don't know." He said, "Let's soak our feet in it. That's really chilly." "Okay." We ran hot water into it
and stuck our bare feet in it. It was a bidet. A bidet looks like a toilet bowl except women use it to
wash their privates. You see it only in top European hotels. To a guy from the South Side of Chicago,
it still looked like a footbath. In the same large bathroom, we found three tall stools, which we
immediately mounted. In this position, we greeted our interviewer. When De Radinsky walked into
the hotel room and saw the three of us sitting in that bathroom in bathrobes and Tyrolean hats,
soaking our feet in the bidet, and sipping tea out of finger bowls, he almost backed out of the room.
Who cared? We were cool, and ready for whatever came.

Art Farmer
The first time that I ever heard of Clifford was from Miles Davis. It must have been 1951 or 52. he
came by my house one day and I was practicing, an he said, Hey theres a guy back East that you
would really like. And I said, Who is that? And he said his name is Clifford Brown. They call him
Brownie. He plays very warm.

Clifford Brown was a serene man, a rare man who was as beautiful personally as his music. To me
he was as people should be. We are all not like that but at least some are and he was one of, or
really the most completely realized person I have ever known or known of.

Jimmy Cleveland (Hamp in Europe / Recording)


This particular scene became so obnoxious with the Hampton people that they finally said they were
going to fire Clifford. I said, Why?. Hamp said, Well, he didnt get permission to record. I said,
None of us got permission to record! We dont have to get permission to record! Were out of the
continental US. The contract that we have spells out what we can do and what we cant do
depending on the deposit. Now in your particular case, you did not pay the deposit before you left.
So what you have to do is pay the deposit and then your contract will be binding. Until such time, we
can quit right now! Im tellin him on the phone, so he says, Well here talk to Gladys.

4 of 15
Gladys said, Jimmy whats goin on? I said, Well, I called Mr. Jaffe in NY. Jaffe says that if you
guys dont give us our return ticket, the Union will send us our ticket and you guys will have to pay for
them, then the Union will sue you. Well all come in and file charges against you and youll have to
pay us for the trip, pay us all a deposit and pay us for the time lost. Gladys said, Can you come
over here to the Stockholm Grand? I said, yeah, and I went there. Hamp said, Look here Gates,
we can ah I said, No Hamp. Youre talkin about trying to export this man - one of the greatest
players in the world! Were all brothers, weve got to be good friends and we know hes playing
youre music, man! This whole thing is because these people didnt want to record you!. This is just
professional jealousy and this is totally ridiculous and you shouldnt be that small! Gladys said,
Jimmy, can we solve this? I said Yeah, we can solve this. Clifford stays. And all the rest of us
we stay. And from now on, we want to get paid in advance. Otherwise I spoke to Al Jaffe, local 802
and if we dont resolve it today, tomorrow, well be on the plane. So just to make a statement, he got
angry at us one night and cursed us up and down and called us a whole bunch of names and choice
words. He said, Ill go out and Ill pull down my pants on stage and (do you know what on the stage)
and Ill get more applause than all of you MFs!

The problem was alleviated it wasnt even brought up again, but the tensions were still there.

After the recordings came out, you would hardly ever play because he didnt want people to hear us.

Louis-Victor Mialy (Hamp in Europe)


And there was in the band, a kind of road manager, a tall valet George Hart. He hated Clifford
Brown. And in Algiers, next to their hotel, there was a small street. One day I went there around 3 in
the afternoon, and I see all these black musicians outside. And there was an argument going on
between George Hart and Clifford Brown. And then there was a fight. He pulled his knife on Clifford
Brown. And of course it was like a riot; people trying to separate them. He wanted to knife Clifford
Brown. He wanted to kill him! And Clifford Brown fought. And in fighting he dismantled his shoulder.
Oh, he was in pain! So we took him to his hotel room. And I called the doctor of the hotel. He didnt
come right away. I thought he wouldnt be able to play tonight. Thats it! And Quincy Jones started to
move his arm and massage it. And he put back his shoulder. Painful. He screamed crying and
crying! That same night he was playing trumpet. I wish you could have seen the faces of the
musicians in the room when Clifford Brown was in pain. They were defeated! Art Farmer was as
white as a bed sheet. Art, Gigi, Jimmy Cleveland, Monk Montgomery - there were 10 to 12 people in
the room looking at Clifford Brown thinking, Oh, whats going to happen?

Tadd Dameron Nonet - Metronome magazine Dec 53 Jazz singles by Ulanov


.they do boast a trumpet-playing discovery who may achieve the stature of Dizzy or Fats Navarro.
This distinguished youngster, Clifford Brown, goes by the name of Brownie and plays by the way of
Fats and Freddy Webster, no small accomplishment. Theres fervor in his Philly JJ solo, piquancy in
his choice Choose Now effort, muted skill in what he does with Tadds Theme, and a combination of a
rich tone and fingering ease in everything.

Lou DonaldsonClifford Brown 12-30-53 4


Brown has roots in Gillespie and especially Navarro, but has his own crisp, recognizable identity. Not
since Miles Davis' promise began to dim has there been as exciting a horn man in this tradition.

Metronome 1-9-54 Ulanov Reviews Lou Donaldson


..there's too much Donaldson alto, not enough Brown, and not really first-rate trumpet at that. He
deserves better than another rehearsal of the early bop patterns for material, too:

5 of 15
Art Blakey
Charlie Parker hired Clifford Brown in my band. I was going to the Blue Note to open up. He said, I
already got your trumpet player, so go on down. You know, I believe Bird, and I went down there.
And I see this little country boy down there with his hair plastered, part in the middle, and one of these
big zoot suits on. I said, Jesus Christ, whos this? He had very bad feet, and he was slue-footed,
and hes standing there. He said, Mr. Blakey, Im Clifford Brown. And I said, Yeah, you are. So,
Ike Quebec was working with me. Ike Quebec come in, met him, and he called me back outside and
said, Why didnt you tell me were getting some farmer to play with us? So I said, Well, lets wait
and see, Ike. So we got on the stage and opened up the first tune, and boy, Cliff took the first solo,
and Ike turned to me and said, You a wise guy, huh, you knew this guy could play like this. So I
said, No, you called him country.

Anyway, we took him to NY and he played, he astounded the people. He just astounded them. So
then after that happened all the leeches were right on him. And we recorded the Night at Birdland
album. And it wasnt nothing, we just got together and just ran on some things and just played. And it
was a swingin thing. We had a ball.

Horace Silver - Blakey / Birdland rec.


Art Blakey dug him out of DE, brought him to NY and we went into Birdland. And that was the first I
met him and we played there for two weeks. And then after that we went to Philadelphia for a week
and that was it! Yeah, so I only played with him for three weeks. All I can say is not only was he a
great musician, cause we all know that, but he was a great person. He was a very sweet guy, and
kind and loving and humble type of a man. In spite of this greatness, he didnt have a big head, he
didnt have an ego.

This was a rehearsal we had before we opened up at Birdland. And it was Curly Russell on Bass, Art
Blakey on drums, myself on piano, Clifford and Lou Donaldson. And Miles came down there to listen
to us rehearse, you know? And he was with some friends of his, they were sittin down at a table, this
was the afternoon down at Birdland, the place was closed up and we were rehearsing. In the middle
of our rehearsal, Miles got up and started to go out the door and he yelled back to Clifford, jokingly he
said Clifford, I hope you break your chops! And then Curly Russell said, Man, he aint kiddin he
means that! So thats a little funny incident that I remember.

Barry Ulanov: Bird on the Run (Metronome) March 1954 (In dining car on train)
Im working with Brownie in Philly, now. His eyes twinkled in that really inimitable Parker manner.
And man, he plays!

Clifford Brown 04/07/1954 - Sextet (Easy Livin, etc)


Brownie has really arrived; now lets hope he can get some steady gigs.

Max Roach - with Quintet (1978)


I wouldnt put it past him whether he would shoot somebody. We were in Buffalo at one point, and
during that time, as is today, a lot of places were controlled by the syndicate. And some of them were
just write offs. And if you dont know what that means, it means that they open up a lot of clubs and
they have to have some place to show this is how we get our money. And they dont care whether
the public comes in or not. And these places were managed by people who were part of the
syndicate and so the guy at the end of the week came up short with the loot. Clifford went into the
office, stayed for a while as I was packing up my kit and everything, and when he came out, he came
out with the money. And the guy said to me, you know, thats a rough little guy there!

6 of 15
He was straight ahead music and the other thing was the responsibility that he was engaging in. He
got married during that period and when Clifford was killed his son was only about 6 months old. But
he had bought a house in Philadelphia and we later found out that he had all the insurance so well
covered that when he passed, the house was completely paid for and his wife was left with no bills at
all. Now for a person who was 24 going on 25 at that time, that was phenomenal for us, especially in
this kind of business. You know, that kind of responsibility and dedication to what we are all about
here and he was smack dab in the continuum of that particular music.

Bobby Bradford (trumpet) - Early Quintet in L.A.


He had a real blunt, explosive attack which was somewhere between Miles and Fats. You could hear
Cliffords harmonic connections to Fats. He had such a command of the horn that he was not afraid
to do the things that would put you out on a limb, physically. Like Fats, he could play these things
without worrying about, Am I going to have enough lip the next chorus? Fats didnt have to worry
about that stuff; he just played. Clifford was a beautiful extension of those two players, Fats and
Miles.

I heard them at the Tiffany and by then the band had Harold Land, Richie Powell and George Morrow.
They introduced Joy Spring that night and Max took a moment to tell about it. Now wed like to play
a tune that Clifford has just written about someone in his life that hes just met whos his joy spring.
(Little Miss Meow original title of Joy Spring)

Metronome May 1954 - Sextet


Brownie in almost every way justifies the star status he's given here. By tone and technique and
individuality, he shows himself the most striking trumpeter to come out of the bop background since
the late great Fats Navarro. He blows brilliantly, up, in the exhilarating Cherokee and the not-so-fast
Wail, satisfactorily in Minor, fairly well in the ballads, Living and Eyes, and returns to top form in the
poignant middle-tempo Hymn.

Is Clifford Brown Such a Discovery? asks Maurice Burman - June 5, 1954 (England)
It is seldom that one hears a whole show devoted to one artist. The reason is obvious - We have so
little jazz time and there is so much to be heard that, apart from a handful of greats, it simply isnt
fitting. Tony Hall, however, devoted this show to trumpeter Clifford Brown as a Star of Tomorrow? I
am glad he added the interrogation mark, for as good as Clifford is - and he has a masterly technique
- he lacks originality, uses clichs and has borrowed a deal from Dizzy. If we were going to look for a
star of tomorrow, we should look for someone comparable to Lester Young who, in 1938, was playing
the sort of music that every one scrambled to play in 1948. There is no doubt in my mind that
somewhere in America that contemporary player exists - but he isnt Clifford Brown.

Alun Morgan June 54 with Art Farmer / Swedish All-Stars


Lover Come Back opens with a brilliantly conceived chorus by Brownie. If you still doubt that Cliffs
destined for big things, hear his arresting authority and strength here, for this is great trumpet playing
by any known standards.

Melody Maker 06/12/1954 Clifford Brown/Art Farmer with Swedish All-Stars


One could hardly call either Delaware-born Brownie or Californian Art Farmer the equal of Chet
Baker. If it wasn't for sometimes imperfect intonation, however, they would come near. to being the
next best.

LaRue Brown-Watson 1992


We had puzzles and stuff where we would do the mathematical equations and do the musical
equations and they would come out the same, you know? Which was wonderful because of me
7 of 15
being a classical musician and not thinking that he knew how to play music anyway. And then we
came across I think it was a Bach Invention, and he sat down and he wrote out the parts based on a
mathematical equation, and would you believe, the damn thing came out the same way? He loved
math and he loved music, and he found the common denominator.

He had some favorites. He liked Sarah Vaughan. Let me tell you what he use to tell me. He would
say that he always loved to listen to singers because this is how he tried to express himself, the way
a singer expresses oneself. So he listened to jazz, and he listened to people like of course Diz,
Monk, Miles, but really in our home we really didnt listen to that many jazz recordings we usually
listened mostly to classical and vocals, but our friends, and they were just people we knew, like Milt
Jackson, Jon Hendricks, John Coltrane, Benny Golson, many people whom we were around all the
time, we listened to them.

He probably absorbed, because I know he absorbed a hell of a lot of stuff; like he would absorb the
sound of the ocean, he would absorb the feeling that he had for a sunset or things like that and it
would come out in his music, but he didnt transcribe it.

Jazz Journal - July 1954 Raymond Horricks - Clifford Brown Quartet in Paris
Brownie was certainly the leading solo personality. He has swing, wit, an abundance of ideas and the
fighting guts of a gladiator. His style combines the harmonic surety of Fats Navarro with the attacking
zest of Gillespie and the dry humor of Shavers. It is most noticeable that his style varies considerably
with different tempos. At a fast pace he employs a smallish tone and often restricts his short, staccato
type of phrasing to only a single octave. With slow, ballad material, however, his tone quickly
broadens and his longer melodic lines flow easily through every register.

Melody Maker 07/10/1954 Talking of Fats & Brownie - Alun Morgan


It took an untimely death to elevate Fats Navarro to a position of musical esteem. Let us hope
Clifford Brown enjoys the appreciation he deserves while still alive.

Aug 25, 1954 Satchmo blindfold test - Cherokee (Blue Note) by Leonard Feather
I dont know what theyre playingIt reminds me of a guy with a mouth full of hot rice; got to have hot
lips to blow that stuff - like he put it to his lips then pulled away, a fever blister or something But if
hed put it right there and hold it there and let about four good notes come out, with a beautiful tone, it
would be much nicer. Now you take my boy, Bobby Hackett just a few of them pretty notes is worth
a whole basket of these hot mouth notes. Rate this? Well, youve got to rate him hes got nerve! If
he aint in the hospital yet, with chop trouble! Just that friction of the mouthpiece he cant keep that
damn roller derby up all night, and nobody would want to hear that all night. Lets lay about four on
him, because a trumpet players got to get ratings, regardlessthats the toughest of all instruments.

LaRue Brown-Watson
I remember when he did the jam session with Dinah Washington he was so happy because he was
playing with these giants. He was playing with Clark Terry and Maynard Ferguson, oh my god, and
he kept saying I wont be able, and he was in awe of them. I dont think I better tell you what Dinah
said, but it was a jewel that only she could have said, and all I can say is that the woman never
cussed one day in her life in front of me, so it wasn't a cuss word, but it was something else that
reallyCliff said, You really want me to do this? and she said, Youre going to save me, and so he
said, Well you know Ive got to do this because Im under contract and youre under contract. I have
to do this. But do you want me to do this? And she looked at him and said these famous words, and
- listen to that record sometime. And youll see where Clifford was in awe of Maynard Ferguson and
Clark Terry and you will hear how he came out on the album.

8 of 15
Art Blakey Split Kick; Once in a While; Quicksilver 4 Sept. 8, 1954
The brilliant Clifford Brown amply justifies his new star victory in this year's Down Beat Critics' Poll
except for one thing, and that's why this isn't five-starred. Once in a While is Clifford's concerto and it
doesn't quite come off. Reasons: the approach to the tune is interestingly different but there
apparently wasn't enough preparation, because the tempo alterations come out awkwardly (in the
accompaniment, too), and there is therefore the feeling of cluttered rather than flowing structure.
Clifford also does not sustain his longer notes well; and he has one main trouble on all the tunes - he
often plays too many notes. Clifford will be a great trumpeter, not just a very good one, when he finds
out the expressive value of economy.

Oct 20, 1954 Clifford Brown & Max Roach GNP Volumes 1 & 2
Clifford sounds a little tense on both Children and Tenderly (he is so far no giant on ballads).
Cliffords blowing, however, is looser and more consistent most of the way on this one, (vol. 2) which
is why the higher rating. Sometimes, as on the first set, he tries for more than he can cohesively
absorb into his solo line, but his general conception and amazing sense of time are often so thrilling
that a few incompletions and the several clinkers on both LPs dont always assume major
importance. There are times as on I Get a Kick and sections of Started, when Cliffords dazzling run
of notes makes you wonder what, if anything hes trying to say beyond a flexing of his technical
muscles. When he does break free of his delight in notes as notes, he is certainly one of the
important voices in contemporary jazz.

3/23/55 Dinah Washington Jam Session 3


Frequent lapses of the trumpets into notes for the sake of notes. Each, particularly Brown and Terry,
have exciting moments, but can certainly construct better, less-exhibitionistic choruses than occur
here. The "exuberance and enthusiasm" mentioned in the notes is no excuse for lack of sustained
imagination.

Charlie Mingus - The Fabulous Thad Jones - 1955 Liner notes


"Here is a man (Thad Jones) who practiced while Fats goofed, and thought while Brownie copied."

Met Apr. 1955 Gryce Brown


Clifford plays brilliantly in his many-noted fashion for most of the way except in the ballad (Romantic)
where he has trouble sustaining long tones as does Gryce in the same piece.

Max and Clifford - May 4, 1955 Quintet Brown & Roach: Dealers in Jazz - Hentoff
Our own policy is to aim for the musical extremes of both excitement and subtle softness whenever
each is necessary, but with a lot of feeling in everything. The majority of our book consists of originals
with some standards. And we have a definitely organized sound because organization is the trend in
all modern jazz groups today. Were trying more and more to have our solos built into each
arrangement so that it all forms a whole and creates emotional and intellectual tension.

Billy Root (by Bob Rusch) November 1990 (Last Recording?)


CAD: You were on the last recording of Clifford Brown
B.R.: See, that was a lie. I was working with Clifford at the Blue Note in Philadelphia and there was
a place called Music City where the kids used to come to play and hear the greater players in town
theyd let them in because they couldnt get into clubs. So I went over with Cliff and they took a tape
and it was like 8,9 months maybe a year before he passed away. But they said he had just done it,
which was not true, that had been done a year or so before he passed away.
CAD: They said that was like the stop before the night he was killed.
B.R.: Not true, thats a falsehood.

9 of 15
Music City - (Last Week) June 7, 1955 (Beg & End Album)
BROWNIE SPEAKS TO AN ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE;
ROOT ROUTES SESSION DOWN TO TUNISIAALL THIS AND THE SWINGING RUTH, TOO..

Not that it was crowded or anything, but the determined watcher on top of the Coke machine had to
crane his neck to catch sight of last weeks swingers. Thats cause he made the scene at seven
when everybody else was already here. It was Clifford Browns show from the time he squeezed in til
the time he cut, and a if youll excuse the adjective again swingin show it was.

Brownie arrived after club regulars Root, Goldberg, Dougherty (Dockery), Tesone and Tollin had
jarred the C-Jam Blues, and many choruses of The Way You Look Tonight. It was strictly Gravy
for Cliff, Ziggy, El, et al, and for fans, too. The cheers were for Brownie, and the oos and ahs for
Ruthie, who entered the room midway. Ziggy dropped out for Night in Tunisia, where Cliff drew
cheers for triplets on a torrid four-minute solo. Donna Lee was the stars swan song. He had to split
back to Mr. Fields house then. (the Blue Note Club)

Clifford Brown 07/01/1955 Clifford Brown with Strings 3


Clifford, who hasn't been heard extensively up to now in ballads, proves that he has an inventive lyric
ability as well as his already known blazing, many-noted prowess at up tempo flights. If it means a
wider audience for Clifford, I'm for it, but I can't give the string writing a very high rating musically.
Clifford, though, is very tasty throughout.

Clifford Brown 07/13/1955 Clifford Brown Quartet in Paris


There are, however, several stimulating passages of characteristic high-speed invention, and
rhythmically, Clifford swings the date almost all by himself. There are also, however, a few sections
when he has difficulty sustaining notes and it is then that his intonation tends to waver.

Goldblatt - Report of Newport Fest Saturday July 16, 1955


The final number of Dave Brubecks set that same evening was Tea for Two. Daves regulars were
augmented by Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Max and Clifford. They cracked! Max attacked the
standard savagely. While the group pounded away the closing moments of the evening, the most
telling statements were made by Max and Clifford. The crowded audience left their seats to encircle
the stage, and George Wein came out waving his arms like a windmill to halt the festivities. Clifford
ignored the producer, digging his head deeper into his shoulders, scrunching his face up even more
than it had been, and blasting out a gorgeous, fire-breathing final chorus. At that moment the rain,
which had been threatening all day, started to spatter down against his horn.

Met July 1955 Clifford Brown with Strings


.proving nothing beyond the fact that popular music can be dreadfully dull especially in such huge
doses. If it has to be done, then Bobby Hackett is the trumpeter, not Brownie, who has some trouble
with intonation (track 5, for example) and more with his vibrato (tracks 1 and 2). Then, too, Neal Hefti,
for all his talent, has a string pattern for this kind of thing which has a dull intensity that is almost
melodramatic. Unfortunately, there's no Just Friends in this collection, but Clifford does play well on
Memories, and tracks 7 and 12 are easily the most effective in the album.

9-7-55 Brown & Roach, Inc. 3


First tune displays Brown's occasionally disturbing tendency to sacrifice linear cohesiveness and
development for dazzling technical hot-rodding. In this respect, Brown might well pay heed to Thad
Jones' effective use of economy of means when it's necessary. On Ghost, however, Brown is
excellent in a long solo that is one of the achievements of the year.

10 of 15
Gary Kramer 09/10/55 Billboard
Trio of Jazz Combos Rock NYs Basin Street

In contrast to the Brubeck group, the effect produced on their listeners by the Brown-Roach Quintet is
immediate and electric. Both Brown and Roach, now at the high points of their respective careers,
effortlessly perform with such supreme virtuosity on their instruments that aficionados at the nitery are
simply staggered. The fanciful flights of Brown on trumpet never serve a cheap effect, however. The
fireworks are brilliantly patterned and thoroughly thought out. In a drummer, the modesty and
complete lack of exhibitionistic tricks of Max Roach are almost as impressive as the variety of sounds
that he coaxes from his drums in his tasty solos. These two artists are currently combining their rich
talents in one of the most stimulating modern jazz combos extant.

Davis Picks From Wide Variety


Miles and Miles of Trumpet Players by Leonard Feather Sept 21, 1955 (Blindfold test)
Falling in Love with Love (Prestige) Clifford & Art Farmer with Swedish All-Stars

Aside from the trumpets, I didn't care for the other soloists at all . . . also I think that Arthur should
improve his tone and that Clifford should swing more. Four stars, though.

Burt Korall Brubeck at Basin Street - Nov. 1955 (Metronome)


Trumpeter Clifford Brown seems bent on exhibitionism. This, which can only serve as an inhibiting
mechanism on his progress, and make people forget how promising he is."

Leon Brown
Id laugh cause me and him understood it; hed be playing something and hed get way out there
right! Max Roach and them knew where it was at. And hed get too far out. If he couldnt get in right,
Max would go (boom-ba-boom-bang bang) and you hear Clifford hes right on that melody again. I
said, Man, whats that? Dont be jiving me, you were stretched out werent you? No, no, I was
alright, I was alright see! I used to get a kick out of that.

Bobby Shad Dec 1955


Clifford Brown is one of Emarcys biggest money makers largely because of the Clifford Brown with
Strings LP which was issued earlier this year. "It's still selling as if it just came out."

(talks about Browns acclaim)


And much of that acclaim, strangely enough, came from the with Strings album which was liberally
panned by practically all jazz critics. Shad says of that, "You guys missed the boat - so did Brownie,
he didn't want to do it. But that kind of album brings talent to people who would never buy a jazz LP
and makes a demand for the musicians other records." Meanwhile, the multi-noted Brownie blows on
with no strings attached.

Clifford Brown Max Roach 01/11/1956 Study in Brown 4


Brownie can be very exciting and is often here, but there are still times when his choruses are
partially essays in swiftness rather than cohesively well shaped, flowingly individual statements.
When Brownie comes to learn the value of economy, he'll be even more stimulating than he is now.

11 of 15
Down Beat 2/22/56 Blindfold Test / (Feather) BROWNIE DIGS ONLY MODERN SOUNDS
Harry James James Session 1955 - (didnt recognize)
One thing I did like: he played the full range of his instrument, utilizing the lowest and highest notes
effectively, though didnt care for those little nanny things he puts on the end of the notesthe low
notes didnt have the same body and fullness and purity of tone as the high notes.
Kenny Dorham - Minors Holiday - (recognized)
I think its possible for a rhythm section to support a soloist so that he can play long flowing lines
instead of getting in the way. But Id give it 3 1/2 stars.

Jazz Encyclopedia 1955


Easy Living best solo1954 Down Beat critics Poll New Trumpet star. Also 4 th place in trumpet
players, same poll.Favorite Musicians on instrument? - The late Fats Navarro

Benny (Golson) At Phillys Blue Note - Rehearsal with Rollins early 56


His style was such that it radiated emotional impulses, so to speak. Like youd sit there and hear him
play, and hed make you react physically. He made you twitch, move your feet. He had a mystical
charm.

They began to play my Step Lightly; none of them had ever seen it before. Brownie went into his
solo cold, and I felt as I looked into the bell of his horn as though something tangible was reaching out
and shaking my body. I trembled. Yet, I couldnt move off that seat. What he was playing at that
moment was wondrous, miraculous any kind of adjective you can think of. Thats what was
happening at that moment. When they finished the tune, I wanted to say so much to him, but all I
could get out was It sure was crazy, Brownie. and he answered in his own shy way, next time Ill get
it. I walked out of the club in another world.

Quincy Jones letter to Raymond Horricks (English Critic) (early 56 shortly prior to CBs death)
If any musician of the present day can be compared with Parker, it's Clifford. I can honestly say that
his is the most un-blossomed talent of this generation. He should not only be judged by his present
talent (which is still of superior quality) but by his potentialities. Charlie Parker and Dizzy and all the
other influences were not judged until they reached maturity. It takes a young musician many years to
rid the mind of clichs and to unscramble the millions of young ideas into what it takes to make a
mature and original musical influence. By knowing Clifford very well, I'm very aware of his sensitivity
and superior taste; he will never lower his standards and play without sincerely feeling, whatever the
mood. He is a young musician in age but comparatively mature in ideas. When he matures in his own
standards I do believe he will be a major jazz influence. He is the kind of person that would excel at
anything attempted. (He plays as much piano as he does trumpet.) You can rest assured that all the
Dizzy and Navarro influences will not be present in the mature Brownie. Remember, Dizzy began by
imitating Roy Eldridge."

Boysie
The day before the accident he was in Wilmington, and he was telling me what he wanted me to
make him do. He said he wanted me to make him do some scales and things he wasnt doing, that
he needed to do. And he told me When I come back, I want you to get on me about that. That was
the last thing that I remember.

Margaret Brown
[Racetrack] the day that we were out there, his conduct was very strange. I dont know how much
you know about horse racing, but usually you just sit down there and you try to select what you think
might win and, he was playing everything. He would just play the whole thing he had to win
12 of 15
something. And of course he had one or two long shots that came in. And he wasnt a bit more
excited. I was all excited, and hadnt been to the racetrack that many times anyway. But at one point
I looked at him and he just had this faraway look. It was just like he was not even there.

I think he knew. I think people have premonitions about some things. I dont think that he knew it
was going to be in an accident, but it was something that I think he felt and I guess he was trying to
figure out what it was that he was feeling.

Geneva Griffin
I was there visiting when he got killed. I had gone home to visit. As a matter of fact, I cooked the last
meal he ate. Somebody told me you think youre such a good cook. I said, No, Im not that good.
He said, Well, I want you to cook something for me and Ill see whether you can cook or not. I said
OK. Well, I cooked him soul food, I believe I cooked greens. But it was a typical soul food dinner.
And he piled up his plate and then he said, Hmm, I cant eat all this, and he took some of it back off
his plate. And I remember he was sitting at the table in the dining room and hed say, Boy, I sure
wish I didnt have to go. Im just not in the mood to go, I just wish I didnt have to. He kept saying
that over and over. And my daddy said, Well Cliff, once you get on the road and everything, itll be
ok. He said, Oh no, I just wish I didnt have to go. So maybe he had a premonition, I dont know.

Bedford Police Report - Accident Info


Wed. morning, 1 AM June 27th, 1956.New 1956 Buick sedan (green 2-tone Roadmaster)
About mile marker 142.About 80 mph says trucker (witness)

Quincy Jones
I was in the studio with Gil Evans and Helen Merrill when Gil walked into the control booth with his
face as white as a sheet. He said Clifford had just been killed in a car wreck on the Pennsylvania
Turnpike. I was twenty-three and he was twenty-five. It was the first time a close friend of mine had
died. The next day I went out and bought every newspaper in New York, hoping to save the clippings
that would talk about Clifford and what a great artist he was. I wanted to save them to show to my
daughter Jolie when she was grown. It was a waste of time. His death hardly made the paper.

Delaware Afro World - LaRue Brown-Watson


LaRue had run home to her mothers to check on the baby. The phone rang and a newscaster family
friend told her what happened.

It didnt shock me, said LaRue. Cliffs sister, Rella, can confirm this. I had a dream a couple of
months before, and I had told Cliff that Nancy was driving the car and there was an accident and he
died.

Cliff had called me that morning to wish me happy birthday, and hed sent me flowers, and when I
thanked him, he said, Thats not your birthday present. Ill bring your present in the car, but I want to
see your face when you get it. And I said, now you stay at your moms in Wilmington and get some
rest. And I said, do not let Nancy drive the car! See you in a few days. And that was that.

Im so sure he knew. I always felt there was a timetable he was working on. Like when he insisted
he wanted to see my face when he gave me the gift. The gift was a full-length black mink coat, but
before such an indulgence, Clifford had invested his earning in the future properties, trust funds,
insurance. Something young men just didnt do. He had to know. I have a sense that Cliff was here
for a special kind of time, that he realized what he was doing and what his mission was, and he
accomplished it. And hes gone on to another level.

13 of 15
Delaware Afro World - Max Roach
I still havent gotten over it, Max revealed. I was the oldest, and I always felt responsible for
everything we did. I had called for Clifford, and we put the group together. Even right now, Im
thinking I should have said, Ill meet you on the turnpike, and well drive in tandems as we usually
do. I got a bottle of Cognac and went to my room. Sonny went to his room, and I heard him playing
all night long. Just playing his sax. I never talked about it.

Twisted Wreckage - Bedford Daily Gazette Thursday June 28, 1956


Three Die Wednesday in Grisly Pike Crash at Interchange 220 Overpass
The best highway safety editorial weve ever seen in many years was written in blood Wednesday
morning at the Route 220 Turnpike overpass at Bedford Interchange. There in a grisly, ghastly
twisting of steel and wrenching of flesh; three Negro entertainers from Philadelphia kept a sudden
date with death in a scene that defies description here but was imprinted deeply on all its firsthand
observers.

Traveling west to keep a show date in Chicago, the trio, all youthful, all living, breathing, laughing
human beings, were suddenly turned into mangled, dismembered corpses as their car, traveling too
fast, went out of control. Within a split second one of their numbers was horribly crushed between
careening auto and hard concrete, another grimly disfigured, pinned beneath 4000 pounds of cold
steel and the third, almost tranquil in face, but dead of multiple wounds, held in the wreckage of a car
that moments before had been the pride of the highways.

Grisly Picture
The resulting picture of dismembered human limbs, unbelievably demolished auto, personal
belongings and car parts were scattered along a 100-foot stretch of bank and of Route 220 told better
than 10,000 National Safety Council warnings and editorials, the lesson of speed. The lesson was
driven home more forcefully when a Turnpike trip ticket was found indicating their departure from
Philadelphia.

Although it cannot be determined with certainty, the trio apparently had averaged 60 miles per hour
from Philadelphia to Bedford despite at least one stop for gasoline and five slowdowns to negotiate
Turnpike tunnels. An unidentified trucker, who they had passed near the scene, estimated the speed
of the 1956 Buick sedan at more than 80 mph.

Vance Wilson 03/15/1994


I was on my to Pittsburgh, so we stopped, (in Bedford) me and the guitar player, at this gas station at
the bottom of the hill where Clifford had gotten gas. And we asked then about it. It was about 2
weeks after it. And they told us all about the accident. They said that they had stopped there to get
gas and there were 3 people in the car. There was a girl that was driving, that was Richies wife; she
was 18 or 19, (She was white) and Clifford and Richard. And they told us that they stopped and got
gas and they got to the top of the hill. It was one of those blinding rains. And she lost control of the
car and Clifford and Richard went over with the car. She was thrown out on the bridge. And when we
got to the top of the hill we stopped there and we went over and looked where they went over. And it
was about a 75 foot embankment. She evidently couldnt deal with that rain.

Donald Byrd (Grave site)


As I stood before his grave, I was awestruck by his accomplishments. But as I looked at his beautiful
headstone, then looked around at the cemetery where he was laid to rest, I was taken aback by the
conditions of the active historical Black cemetery.

14 of 15
What had a further impact on me was the fact that he is buried with his family mother, father and
others. Which is also near the place where the famous vibra-harpist Lem Winchester is interred.
Lems death is another story I will tell at a later date and time. Another point that left me speechless
was at this Wilmington historical burial ground/site, there are many slave markers which have dates
that are in the early 1800s, before emancipation. I had only experienced this once before, so right
away I became profoundly involved. Here was my friend, idol, and one of the greatest trumpet
players of this century interred beneath the garbage, rubbish, and abandoned auto parts scattered
among the many pools-flooded roads, paths, and swamps of water. Here is a place surrounded by
overturned headstones, desecrated grave markers, and situated only five feet from the railroad
tracks. It is more to believe that Wilmington was still a segregated city in the summer of 1956, than to
believe this black cemetery and others a couple of blocks down the main street were in such a
condition.

07/07/1956 by Mike Nevard An Appreciation of the Late Clifford Brown


I respect his sincerity, his fervent belief in the music he was playing. I also believe he was a man who
played from the heart. Its just that he wasnt big-hearted enough. My chain of greats omits Navarro
too the man from whom Brownie drew much of his inspiration. But Fats did play with more
assurance than his disciple. I found Clifford Browns trumpet indefinitesearchingfumbling. A man
who is exploring hitherto unprobed avenues can be excused a lot, but Brownie never seemed to find
anything that justified his efforts. On the strength of his recorded work, I would say that he was a
trumpeter that played with force, but who unfortunately had that throttled, restricted tone that so many
of the modernists favor.

Tribute By Quincy Jones 08/22/56


In this generation where some well-respected and important pioneers condemn the young for going
ahead, Brownie had a very hard job. He constantly struggled to associate jazz, it's shepherds, and
it's sheep, with a cleaner element, and held no room in his heart for bitterness about the publicity-
made popularity and success of some of his pseudo-jazz giant brothers, who were sometimes very
misleading morally and musically. As a man and a musician, he stood for a perfect example and the
rewards of self-discipline.

Clifford, at 25, was at the beginning of showing capabilities parallel only to those of Charlie Parker.
There was nothing he would stop at to make each performance sound as if it were his last. But there
will never be an ending performance for him, because his constant desire was to make every musical
moment one of sincere warmth and beauty; this lives on forever. This would be a better world today if
we had more people who believed in what Clifford Brown stood for as a man and a musician. Jazz
will always be grateful for his few precious moments; I know I will.

15 of 15