TRC

Clifford Brown: The Beginning and The End (1952/56) 1973

The Beginning and The End

Track list:

A1 01. I Come From Jamaica [OKEH 6900 (CCO 5323)]
A2 02. Ida Red [OKEH 6875 (CCO 5322)]
A3 03. Walkin’

B1 04. Night in Tunisia
B2 05. Donna Lee

Personnel:

#01,02 – Chris Powell and His Blue Flames:
Clifford Brown: trumpet
Vance Willson: alto and tenor sax
Duke Wells: piano
Eddie Lambert: guitar
James Johnson: bass
Osie Johnson: drums
Chris Powell: vocal, percussion

#03,04,05:
Clifford Brown: trumpet
Ziggy Vines, Billy Root: tenor saxes
Sam Dockery: piano
Ace Tisone: bass
Ellis Tollin: drums

This compilation:
Released: 1973
Label: CBS S65749

Producer: Don Schlitten
Executive Producer: Bruce Lundvall

#01,02: Recorded in Chicago, March 21, 1952
#03,04,05: Recorded in Philadelphia, June 25, 1956

Re-mix Engineer: Art Kendy

Liner Notes: Dan Morgenstern

*****

On March 21, 1952 a young trumpeter named Clifford Brown made his first records.

He’d just Joined Chris Powell and the Blue Flames a group from Philadelphia.

They cut four sides: two ballad vocals and two jump tunes with solos by Clifford.

Not many people (at least not many who cared) heard those first recorded glimpses of a new voice ; Chris Powell sides were not sought out by jazz people.

But those who’d heard him live, musicians and listeners, already knew about Brownie.

Among them was Charlie Parker, with whom Clifford played a short gig in Philly in the summer of 1951.
“Bird helped my morale a great deal”, Brownie said three years later.

“One night he took me in a corner and said, ‘I don’t believe it.

I hear what you’re saying but I don’t believe it”.

And when Art Blakey told Bird he was taking a group to Philadelphia, Bird said not bother bringing a trumpet player if Brownie was in town.

Soon, the message spread ; Brownie himself carried it to Europe in Lionel Hampton’s band. And then…

On june 25, 1956 the 25-year-old- coleader of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, widely held as the most brilliant young voice in jazz, was the featured guest star at a Monday evening jam session in Philadelphia.

The scene was Music City, an instrument shop run by drummer Ellis Tollin and Bill Welch.

Jams bringing some noted visitor together with the local cats were regular events there for a period of some three years in the mid-to-late 1960’s Tollin who still runs the store (it has since moved to bigger quarters) recalls that Bud Powell, Sonny Stitt.

Art Blakey and Buddy Rich among the guests, while the up-and-coming locals included a Clifford Brown fan named: Lee Morgan. Usually a tape recorder would be in action ; in this case it was manned by Fred Miles.

The session was not Clifford’s first at Music City, but it generated a warmth unusual even for visits by him.

You can hear it in the music, and then in Clifford’s moving little speech at the end.

It was homecoming of sorts though Wilmington.

Delaware was his birthplace, Philadelphia was his musical hometown.

“He was perfect all the way around,” said Sonny Rollins, his front line partner in the Brown-Roach Quintet.

Roach said Clifford was “one of the rare complete individuals ever born…a sweet, beautiful individual.”

And Dizzy Gillespie said, “jazz was dealt a lethal Blow by the death of Clifford Brown.”

Dizzy, of course, is a trumpet player, the father of all modern jazz trumpet players.

He had lost his natural heir, and to him the» blow seemed lethal.

The music has survived, as Clifford would have wanted.

And the music of Clifford Brown has survived.

In the four short years he was granted to fashion his recorded legacy, he created enough beauty to insure immortality of that special kind time grants only to great artists.

Here is the beginning and the end of this remarkable recorded legacy of beauty.

We know that Clifford must have been happy to record for the first time – a moment of joy any young musician – and now we can also know that the last message he was able to leave us was one of happiness and affirmation.

Long live Clifford Brown!

~[Dan Morgenstern Editor, down beat]

*****

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