brownie bio

Early years

  • Clifford Brown was born in Wilmington, Delaware on October 30, 1930
  • Started on trumpet at age 13


  • Learned piano and rudimentary arranging in addition to trumpet
  • Obtained a music scholarship at the University of Delaware which had, at the time, no music department. Studied mathematics as a freshman
  • Attended Maryland State College, which had a good jazz band for which Clifford played and wrote

Professional life

  • Began sitting in on various gigs with jazz celebs such as Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, and Charlie Parker
  • Clifford was severely injured in a June, 1950 car accident and was hospitalized for almost a year
  • Recording debut with R&B group Chris Powell's Blue Flames in March, 1952
  • Recorded with Lou Donaldson in '53

The band

  • Invited to play with Max Roach in November of 1953. This was the combo for which Roach and Brownie were best known

The end

  • Clifford, pianist Richie Powell and wife, were killed in a car accident during the early morning hours of June 26, 1956. They were on their way to meet Roach for a gig in Chicago when Powell's car, driven by his wife, skidded off the wet Pennsylvania Turnpike
Content ©1997-2010. Photo (upper-left) by Herman Leonard.