Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cifford Brown (b. Oct. 30, 1930)

In celebration. Clifford Brown (b. Oct. 30, 1930, d. June 26th, 1956) was one of the great jazz trumpeters. His life was tragically cut short at 25 in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I think the final paragraph from a 1956 Downbeat tribute sums it up:

Clifford, at 25, was at the beginning of showing capabilities parallel only to those of Charlie Parker. There was nothing he would stop at to make each performance sound as if it were his last. But there will never be an ending performance for him, because his constant desire was to make every musical moment one of sincere warmth and beauty; this lives on forever. This would be a better world today if we had more people who believed in what Clifford Brown stood for as a man and a musician. Jazz will always be grateful for his few precious moments; I know I will.

I’m also reminded of the closing lines of Rueben Jackson’s tribute to Monk:

he tilled song
like it was earth

and he
a gardener
hell bent
on raising

any beauty
on the other


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