In a way, Brown was the Wynton Marsalis of his time; like Marsalis, Brown came on the jazz scene following a period of significant stylistic change. However, unlike Marsalis (who rejected the free jazz made famous by the generation just preceding his own), Brown chose to embrace the innovations of his immediate elders. In the process, Brown became one of the great post-Gillespie trumpeters, developing a voice that spoke the language of bebop with a distinct, personal inflection. In September 1953 – having just recorded his first dates as a leader for Blue Note – Brown went to Europe with Lionel Hampton.
Although undoubtedly an expensive acquisition, this ten-CD set is perfectly done and contains dozens of gems. The remarkable but short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown has the second half of his career fully documented (other than his final performance) and he is showcased in a wide variety of settings. The bulk of the numbers are of Brownie's quintet with co-leader and drummer Max Roach, either Harold Land or Sonny Rollins on tenor, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow (including some previously unheard alternate takes), but there is also much more.
Although Lionel Hampton forbid his sidemen from recording during their trip to France in 1953, many of the musicians fortunately ignored his orders; the band broke up soon anyway. Trumpeter Clifford Brown is heard on this LP mostly with a big band actually put together by Gigi Gryce. A few of these tracks are excerpts but the two takes of "Brownskins" and "Keeping up with Jonesy" are fairly long as is a nearly eight-minute "Chez Moi." The music is not essential but Brownie did not live long enough to record anything less than excellent.
1955 album by the Clifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet, described by The New York Times as "perhaps the definitive bop group until Mr. Brown's fatal automobile accident in 1956". The album was critically well-received and includes several notable tracks, including two that have since become jazz standards. The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. It is included in Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings at #34, where it is described by New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff as "one of the strongest studio albums up to that time". Originally released on the EmArcy label, it has been multiply re-issued, including in a 2000 edition by Verve Records that contains additional tracks.
Clifford Brown: "Best Coast Jazz" is the Five Star bookend session to "Clifford Brown All Stars", both having been recorded at the same session in Los Angeles in 1954. On the vinyl LP, each song took up a side, allowing for plenty of blowing room. "BCJ" would be released in 1955. One year later, Clifford Brown (and pianist Richie Powell and wife) would be dead from a car wreck on the Penn Turnpike during a rainstorm. Thus altering the course of jazz trumpet history in one tragic act. "CBAS" would be hurriedly released following the accident and we would once again shake our heads at the tremendous loss of trumpet genius Clifford Brown.
Although Clifford Brown did a phenomenal amount of commercial recordings during his all too brief lifetime (he died prior to his 26th birthday in a car crash that also took the life of his quintet's pianist Richie Powell, Bud's younger brother), relatively few of the recordings he made were on stage. Fortunately, this CD includes performances from two 1956 broadcasts from the old Basin Street club in New York City, and two tracks from a Carnegie Hall concert the previous year…
Study in Brown features the 1955 version of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet, a group also including tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow. One of the premiere early hard bop units, this band had unlimited potential. Highlights of this set are "Cherokee" (during which trumpeter Brown is brilliant), "Swingin'," and "Sandu." All of this group's recordings are well worth acquiring.