About this Artist
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1926, RAY BROWN’s formal musical training began at the age of eight with the study of piano. By the time Brown was in high school, he had already become an accomplished pianist. Thinking that the bass would be easier than the piano, Brown began playing it by ear and soon was playing professionally around town. After high school, Brown joined the Jimmy Hinsely Sextet and traveled with the group on the road for six months. The following year he joined the Snookum Russell band, playing larger clubs throughout the United States. He departed Russell's band at the age of 20 to make his way as a freelance musician in New York City. Ray Brown's reputation as an accomplished musician preceded him to New York, where he was hired immediately by Dizzy Gillespie. His experiences with Dizzy Gillespie led Ray around the world, playing, learning and composing his own music. In 1948, Brown left the band to form his own trio with Hank Jones and Charlie Smith.
Brown toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic for 18 years playing in Europe, the Far East and the US, appearing in nearly every major club and concert hall. In the late '60s, Brown composed "Gravy Waltz;" the tune became the Steve Allen Show's theme song and a best-selling record that won him a Grammy Award.
Ray Brown was the bassist for all of Frank Sinatra's specials, and has been a part of some of the most outstanding television musical events in the business. He guided the Hollywood Bowl Association in producing jazz concerts, was Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival for two years, and was Music Director for the Concord Summer Festival in 1976 and 1977. He has been honored with innumerable awards including the All-Star Poll Award in Playboy every year since its inception in 1958. The unparalleled bassist has received Grammy Awards, Downbeat Reader's Poll Awards, Jazz Critic's Poll Awards and many, many others.
Ray Brown first appeared on the Telarc label in 1989 with André Previn and Mundell Lowe on After Hours. In 1993, Ray Brown's own trio with Benny Green and Jeff Hamilton recorded their first album for Telarc called Bass Face. He also joined forces with Oscar Peterson and Milt Jackson for 1999's The Very Tall Band, a landmark collaboration recorded live at the Blue Note in November 1998. In February 2001, the Ray Brown Trio released the first ever Live at Starbucks album, recorded in Seattle.