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Ray Brown and Afterthoughts


Raymond Harry “Ray” Brown (born November 7, 1946) is an American jazz composer, arranger, band leader, trumpet player, and music educator, not to be confused with other US session-trumpet player, Ray Brown.  Ray, born 1946 in Oceanside, New York, grew up in Freeport, New York. He has three older brothers, Glenn Edward Brown (1937–2007), Stephen Charles Brown, Roger V. Brown and a younger sister, Jeanne De Martino.  Ray’s father, Glenn Earl Brown (1914–1965), a 1936 graduate of Ithaca College School of Music, was the District Music Supervisor of Public Schools for Long Beach, New York. He was also director of bands at Long Beach Jr. Sr. High School from 1938 to 1965. As a pioneer in jazz education at the scholastic level, he introduced stage bands to Long Beach public schools in 1939. He also ran a music camp — Lake Shore Music Score — at Lake Winnipesaukee, Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Glenn Brown had been, for more than 14 years, a marimba soloist with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra.

Ray’s mother, Marie (née Ward) Brown (1916–2002), earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Ithaca College School of Music in 1935, where she played piano, saxophone, and clarinet. She also held a Masters in English from Hofstra University.  She taught English at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside for 28 years, where, before retiring from the Oceanside School District in 1982, she served as curriculum coordinator and English department chairwoman.   After graduating from Freeport High School in New York in 1964, Ray attended Ithaca College School of Music from 1964 to 1968, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in 1968.  Also, he received a Master of Science from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

Brown served as arranger and trumpeter with the Studio Band of The United States Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Maryland (1968–71).   He joined Stan Kenton in September 1971, succeeding Gary Lee Pack [b. 1950; Director of Jazz Studies (retired), University of Southern Maine], holding the jazz trumpet chair and serving as an improv clinician. The Kenton trumpet section included Mike Vax, Jay Saunders, and Dennis Noday. Brown also contributed arrangements for Kenton, including “Mi Burrito” and “Neverbird.”   Brown remained with the Kenton Orchestra until November 1972.  Before joining the Kenton Orchestra, His tenure with the Army Band and Kenton coincided closely with that of Jay Saunders — trumpet player, and jazz educator, who, while with the Kenton Orchestra, eventually played lead trumpet.

In addition to his work with Kenton in the early 1970s, Brown has performed as trumpet player and arranged music for Bill Watrous, Bill Berry’s Los Angeles big band, Frank Capp – Nat Pierce (Juggernaut Big Band), and the Full Faith and Credit Big Band.  Brown conducted the Full Faith and Credit jazz band through three CD projects, and he also wrote most of the music.   He also has performed with Mundell Lowe, Leroy Vinnegar, Ray Brown (jazz double-bassist), Thad Jones, Jimmy Heath, Steve Gadd, and Billy Hart.  Brown teamed up with his wife, Susan Cahill Brown , also a music educator at Cabrillo College and a classical violinist, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove to conduct the recording session of the Roy Hargrove Quintet entitled Roy Hargrove with Strings, Moment to Moment, released May 2000 on Verve. He has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival frequently as conductor of his wife Sue Brown’s Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra in collaboration with Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker, Ralph Towner, Gary Burton, and Terence Blanchard.

In addition, Brown established his own big band, the Great Big Band, which has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, as well as jazz venues in the San Francisco Bay area.  His Great Big Band debuted in 1997 with Impressions of Point Lobos, a written and executed recording of contemporary big band jazz.   Ray is currently a jazz instructor on the faculty of Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, and UC-Santa Cruz, teaching Jazz improvisation, arranging, and Jazz ensembles.

The following work by Ray Brown is contained in my collection:

Afterthoughts (for Bass and Jazz Orchestra)



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