Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter

Nick Catalano, Author Oxford University Press, USA $25 (232p) ISBN 978-0-19-510083-9
Long known as the jazz trumpeters' trumpeter, Clifford Brown has yet to gain wider recognition for his influence over the development of bebop. Born in Wilmington, Del., in 1930, Brown's trumpet playing was often described as uninspired, but intense practice led to a technically superb style that was lauded by such greats as Dizzy Gillespie. The modest, unpretentious trumpeter lived an unruffled life; his great discipline offered a different model for jazz musicians long under the influence of Charlie Parker's drug abuse. Catalano, the director of performing arts at Pace University, presents Brown's abbreviated life (he died in a car crash at age 25) in a terse, matter-of-fact manner, with scrupulous attention to detail. A vivid account of his 1953 adventures with Lionel Hampton's band (which included Art Farmer and Quincy Jones) in Europe is one of the few sections that delves deeply into Brown's musical genius, describing solos and specific performances, and praising his high energy and fun approach to trading fours with Farmer. In another chapter, Catalano recalls Brown's friendship with Max Roach, paying homage to such landmark recordings as ""Delilah"" and ""Darn That Dream."" While some jazz fans may tire of the meticulous recounting of facts, true buffs will be enthralled with the honest interviews and wide breadth of research this bio offers. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-19-514400-0
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