The career of trumpet legend Clifford brown was short and bittersweet. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1930 and, while still a teenager, attracted the attention of trumpeters Miles Davis and Fats Navarro as well as of his future co-leader, drummer Max Roach. After a hospitalization of almost a year as the result of a serious auto accident, Brown toured and made his first recordings in ’51, with the r & b group Chris Powell’s Blue Flames. By ’53 he was a jazz sensation, working and recording with alto saxophonist Gig Gryce, and drummer Art Blakey, as well as leading sessions under hos own name in the US, Sweden, and France. In the spring of ’54 Brown traveled to Los Angeles to for a quintet with Roach that quickly became one of the leading modern jazz ensembles. The bulk of his legacy, created for the EmArcy label between August ’54 and February ’56, includes performaces by that quintet, jam sessions with augmented trumpet sections, accompaniments to vocalists, and an album in which his trumpet is supported by a string section. On June 26, 1956, while traveling by car to a job in Chicago, Brown, his pianist Richie Powell, and Powell’s wife were killed in a hightway accident. The trumpeter was twenty-five years old.
Excerpted from Bob Blumenthal’s notes to Ultimate Clifford Brown Verve 314 539 776-2