Paul H. Brown

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Paul Brown on bandstand in Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT, summer 1994

Paul Brown "PB" (March 6, 1934 – May 6, 2016), was an American jazz bassist. He was the founder of the Monday Night Jazz Series in Hartford, Connecticut, which was recognized by the Library of Congress as the oldest and longest-running free festival for jazz in the United States and featured jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Thelonious Monk, Tito Puente, Woody Shaw, Sun Ra, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, and the "MJQ" Modern Jazz Quartet just to name a few. Brown also founded The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in 1992 to commemorate 25 years of the Monday night jazz series which in 2016, the Hartford Jazz Society renamed "Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz". He was co-founder of Hartford's Artists Collective, Inc.


Brown was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 6, 1934. He grew up in Severn, Maryland and studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music before attending Morgan State University and Johns Hopkins University as a pre-med student. He left school because of lack of money and his desire to pursue a career in music.

He began his professional music career playing trumpet, touring with Lloyd Price, and substituting in the bands of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He worked with Jimmy Scott, LaVern Baker, Mickey & Sylvia, Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters, The Platters, and Fats Domino.

After switching to bass, he began touring with the Flink Johnson Combo when he met saxophonist Jackie McLean. He moved to Hartford in the early 1960's to be close to New York City where he played in jazz clubs and worked as a studio musician. In 1967, his desire to help quell the civil unrest of the mid 1960s contributed to the founding of the longest-running, outdoor, free jazz concert in the United States.

The Artists Collective, Inc. was founded in 1970 in Hartford by Brown, Jackie McLean, his wife "Dollie" Clarice McLean, dancer Cheryl Smith, and visual artist Ionis Martin. The Artist Collective has been responsible for the tutelage of students including bassist Luques Curtis, saxophonist Jimmy Greene, and bassist Dezron Douglas. Brown also taught at the University of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts for over twenty years. During that time, he and bassist/music producer, Masakazu Fujii organized a foreign exchange student program with Japan.

Brown worked with multiple jazz artists including George Benson, Max Roach, Bobby Hebb, Kenny Burrell, Philly Joe Jones, Walter Bishop Jr., Anita Bryant, Betty Carter, Junior Cook, Bill Cosby, Dexter Gordon, Al Haig, Bill Hardman, Barry Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Cab Calloway, Peter Nero, Larry Rivers, Hilton Ruiz, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Tucker, Curtis Fuller, and Sarah Vaughan. Brown toured with Tyler Perry during Perry's Chitlin' Circuit years. He recorded his own albums with George Coleman, Houston Person, and John Stubblefield.[1]Brown died at the age of 82 on May 6, 2016.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Golden Rule Award, J.C. Penny, 2001
  • New England Jazz Alliance Unsung Heroes Award, 2003
  • Heartbeat Ensemble Street Performance Award and Latter Rain Christian Fellowship Appreciation Award, 2006,
  • The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz Community Award, 2007[3]
  • Paul Brown Day on November 13th in state of CT in 2009
  • Juneteenth Award 2013
  • Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, Above and Beyond Award, posthumously 2016


  • Speak Low (Brownstone, 1996)
  • Meets the Three Tenors (Brownstone, 1998)

With Walter Bishop Jr.

  • 1988 Just in Time
  • 1989 Ode to Bird
  • 1993 Speak Low Again

With Bill Hardman

With George Benson

  • 1967 George Benson's Cookbook

With Bobby Hebb

  • 1966 Sunny

With others



  • Troup, Stuart (Apr 26, 1985). "A Night in the Spotlight for Paul Brown", New York Newsday.
  • Seremet, Pat (Feb 4, 2000). "Brown Makes a Point: Hartford's Jazz Goes to D.C.", Hartford Courant.
  • McNally, Owen (July 26, 1992). "Paul Brown, Hartford's jazzman", Hartford Courant.
  • McNally, Owen (June 26, 1977). "Jazz Fest in the Park Books Star Players"
  •] Truth Revolution Records (27 April 2016)
  • [Hartford Hero Paul Brown Puts City In Jazz Spotlight] (9 May 2016), [1]


  1. ^ Obuchowski, Chuck (15 November 2009). "Paul Brown Quartet Finds Its Groove". tribunedigital-thecourant. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Stoller, Kristin (9 May 2016). "Hartford's Paul Brown, Jazz Legend, Dies". Courant Community. 
  3. ^ "About Paul Brown". Hartford Jazz Society. Nov 13, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Paul Brown | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 March 2017.