- NAME: Clifford Brown
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Trumpet Player
- BIRTH DATE: October 30, 1930
- DEATH DATE: June 26, 1956
- Did You Know?: Quincy Jones nicknamed Clifford Brown "Pogo" after the comic strip character because of his hat and his size.
- EDUCATION: University of Delaware, Maryland State College, Howard High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Wilmington, Delaware
- PLACE OF DEATH: Pennsylvania
- Nickname: Brownie
- Full Name: Clifford Brown
- Nickname: Pogo
Best Known For
Clifford Brown amazed his peers with his ability to blend technique with emotion to create a rich, full sound that earned him praise as the "preeminent trumpeter."
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Between gigs, Brown found time to get married. He met and wed LaRue Anderson in 1954; the couple had one child together, a son they named Clifford Brown Jr. "Music was his first love; I was his second, and math was his third," LaRue later said. "He was a wizard with figures and numbers." An avid chess player, Brown was also known for playing mathematical games.
When Clifford Brown was only 25 yeard old, he was in another car accident—sadly, this time it was fatal. On June 27, 1956—LaRue's 22nd birthday, as well as her and Clifford's second wedding anniversary—Brown-Roach Quintet pianist Richie Powell's wife, Nancy, was driving her husband and Brown to Chicago for a gig at The Blue Note, when they skidded off the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Brown and the Powells were killed in the crash. According to LaRue, the trip marked the first time that she and Clifford hadn't traveled together.
An early recording session was released in 1956 as Memorial (also known as the Clifford Brown Memorial Album). Saxophonist Benny Golson later composed a musical tribute, "I Remember Clifford," which has become a jazz standard. Among works exploring Brown's life and work are Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter, a 2001 book by Nick Catalano, and a video documentary entitled Brownie Speaks.
Many of Brown's compositions, including "Daahoud" and "Joy Spring," went on to become jazz standards. Some consider the late trumpeter's solos on "Cherokee" and "Donna Lee" the definitive recorded versions of these works.
LaRue Brown (later LaRue Brown Watson) went on to establish the Clifford Brown Jazz Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to continuing "the work started by the late jazz trumpeter," among other charitable and music-focused work.
"All Brown is valuable ... because his brief four years of productivity influenced the development of modern trumpet more than any other of his contemporaries or successors," noted Downbeat magazine.
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