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Ray Brown was a Grammy Award-winning double-bassist who played a leading role in defining the modern jazz rhythm.
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In Jazz Journal International, Brown revealed his admiration for Peterson's reputation as a difficult task master: "If you are not intimidated by absolute professionalism, then you have no problem. Sure he'll throw you a curve form time to time by calling unscheduled numbers or unexpectedly doubling the tempos, but if you're not good enough to handle that, you shouldn't be with Oscar anyway."
By 1953 Brown and Fitzgerald ended their marriage. As Stuart Nicholson noted his book Ella Fitzgerald, "Ray remained adamant that he would pursue his career with Oscar Peterson, and the couple had begun to see less and less of each other. Finally, they decided to bring their marriage to and end and filed for a 'quickie' divorce." The divorce was finalized on August 28, 1953 in Juarez, Mexico. Fitzgerald maintained custody of Ray Jr., yet she and Brown remained friends. In November 1953 they, along with Oscar Peterson, appeared at a concert in Japan. In 1958 Peterson replaced Ellis with drummer Gene Gammage, who stayed with the trio a few months until Peterson recruited drummer Edmund Thigpen. Fortunately, Brown was able to stay with the trio and earn a comfortable living. However, by the early 1960s, the group also proved demanding in its performance schedule. As Brown explained in Jazz Journal International, "Some of the tours were really punishing--we'd come to Europe and do 62 one-nighters in 65 days." After his 15-year membership in the Oscar Peterson Trio, Brown left the group in 1965, and settled in Hollywood, where he worked in the areas of publishing, management, and record production. In 1974 he co-founded the L.A. Four with saxophonist Bud Shank, Brazilian guitarist Luarindo Almeida, and drummer Shelly Manne (later replaced by Jeff Hamilton). One of Brown's exemplary studio dates emerged in the 1974 album Dizzy Gillespie Big 4.
By 1976 Brown appeared four days a week on the Merv Griffin Show. A year later, after two decades of appearing as a sideman on the Contemporary label, Brown recorded the solo effort Something for Lester, placing him in the company of pianist Cedar Walton and drummer Elvin Jones. In Down Beat Zan Stewart gave the album the magazine's highest rating (five stars), and commented, "Walton and Jones are apropos partners-in sound for the superlative bassist ... Ray's imparts the line to 'Georgia'--what glorious tone he possesses! It continually overwhelms the listener, as does his superb intonation, for Brown is always at the center of each note."
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