Born in Wilmington, Delaware. At 13 he is
given a trumpet and has lessons in jazz theory.
Brown begins a formal music course at Maryland
State University. From June 1950 to May 1951, Brown is hospitalized
following a major car accident.
He joins Max Roach to form the Clifford Brown-Max
Roach Quintet, with Harold Land and, later, Sonny
Rollins on saxophone. In the Down Beat critics' poll
of 1954, Brown wins the New Star Award. The
group is a major influence on the emerging hard
Brown starts playing in Philadelphia, and
is much influenced and encouraged by Fats
Navarro. His bright sound marks
him from the Gillespie style of trumpet playing.
Brown works with Tadd
Dameron and Lionel Hampton, and with Art
Blakey in early-1954.
Clifford Brown is killed in a car accident.
Also killed is Richie Powell, the group's pianist and younger brother
of Bud Powell.
was an innate musician. Playing the trumpet came easy to him, and
he had great technical command with a bright, full sound. He quickly
absorbed influences - he was much more the disciple of Fats
Navarro than Dizzy Gillespie,
who sacrificed a warmth of tone for technical pyrotechnics; and by
1952 Brown (or 'Brownie') had developed his own style. He had a great
gift for melodic invention, with, at times, long lyrical phrases,
but was as adept at up-tempo numbers as ballads. His
early death was a tragedy for jazz: he was yet to reach
his prime and, renowned for his 'clean' lifestyle, should have had
a long and inventive career.