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Ray Brown

The huge and comfortable sound of Ray Brown's bass was a welcome feature on bop-oriented sessions for over a half-century. He played locally in his native Pittsburgh in his early days.

Arriving in New York in 1945, on his first day in town Brown met and played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell. He was hired by Gillespie for his small groups and his big band; "One Bass Hit" and "Two Bass Hit" were early features, and he can be seen with Dizzy Gillespie in the 1947 film Jiving in Bebop. Although not a soloist on the level of an Oscar Pettiford, Brown's quick reflexes and ability to accompany soloists in a swinging fashion put him near the top of his field. After playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic, he married Ella Fitzgerald (their marriage only lasted during 1948-1952), and for a time led his own trio to back the singer. Brown recorded with an early version of the Modern Jazz Quartet (under Milt Jackson's leadership), and then became a permanent member of the Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1966).

With Peterson, the bassist traveled the world, guested with other top jazz artists, was featured on JATP tours, became famous, and recorded constantly. He began playing cello in the late '50s, and used it on a few of his own dates. After leaving Peterson, Brown settled in Los Angeles, worked in the studios, continued recording jazz, and worked as a manager of several artists (including the Modern Jazz Quartet and Quincy Jones). He played with the L.A. Four starting in 1974, did a great deal to revive the careers of Ernestine Anderson and Gene Harris, and recorded extensively for Pablo and Concord. The Ray Brown Trio featured pianists Gene Harris, Benny Green, and Geoff Keezer, along with drummers Jeff Hamilton and Greg Hutchison, and recorded for Concord and Telarc. He continued touring up until his death, dying in his sleep while napping before a show in Indianapolis on July 2, 2002. His last batch of sessions, working as a trio with pianist Monty Alexander and guitarist Russell Malone, were released that fall. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

coleman3.edw i n
My favorite bassist of all time. Pure swing! Such Joy in his playing.
poppa_bear49
HAVE MERCY!!! HAVE MERCY!!! Ya'll know you got the joint jumpin' now.
poppa_bear49
I just can't seem to get enough of the way Ray plays that BASS.
Ray Brown is one of the true Masters of Music...it seems like whatever song he touched his BASS to turned to GOLD.
The BEST, BEST BEST NEVER FORGET RAY BROWN!
Red hot indeed! Essential listening and inspiration for any jazz bassist. Big shoes to fill. Definitive readings of so many standards. Fortunate we are to have so many quality recordings to choose from. Not least of his feats was to resurrect Gene Harris and work with him.
Love this guy style.....te r r i f i c piano!
Phenomenal swingin' Brown-a legend!! As a jazz maniac in my UK teens I caught him live more than once in superb Norman Granz JATP concerts. Also -not mentioned in biog- but I recall him doing a great 8-10 min solo called 'Rails' with Bassie's legendary band on tour there! Still have the '56 program studded with many of their autographs. What a trio!! Gene Harris' piano on 'Thats All!' is a mind-blower. Love the live crowd reactions on that track! Cool album!
He used to play in a trio with my first jazz piano teacher, Mary Field. Even at ten years old, I could see he was a nice guy as well as a great musician. I'm guessing the rest of Mary's students felt the same way, whether they were in grade school or graduate school.
Not only a great player but warm friendly man who spoke with anyone at his gigs. I was honored to meet him at the Regattabar in 2001. Al Boudreau
amusicman70
Yes!
Ray is the best ever
Ray is best and most versatile bass player ever. The great Master of the bass .
Lucky us to hear this great musician .
yeah hes a beast
WONDERFUL! A GREAT JAZZ PLAYER...
dmrs000
Pure swing man pure swing.
I like this guys sound, real smooth and of course a little jive. Mysticpris
Can't believe I'm the first to comment on Ray's prolific involvement in playing with so many famous names in jazz history! Of all the bassists, Ray was consistantly on the top of his game!

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