Clifford Brown - The Paris Collection

It was September, 1953. Lionel Hampton's band was in the midst of an extended European tour. Response was enthusiastic, especially for the younger and virtually unknown players like Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, Quincy Jones and Alan Dawson. It was Clifford Brown, though, that set off the fireworks. Hampton, for reasons that are still unclear, imposed a ban against extracurricular recording by his musicians. Fortunately, the combination of intrepid European producers and players wanting to be heard led to several 'underground' sessions. The tracks included here document the most significant of these, the Paris dates of 1953. Brownie was only 22 years old, his star, however, had been ascending quickly. He had won the respect of Fats Navarro, his idol. He also had a solid endorsement from Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1949, after Brownie had sat in with Diz in Wilmington, Delaware, Gillespie told Max Roach: "Man, there's a cat down there in Wilmington who plays piano and blows the shit out of the trumpet." The Paris sessions were organized by pianist Henri Renaud, who successfully combined Hamp's top players with his own colleagues. The dates fell into two formats, big band and small group.

Gryce's "Brown Skins" is a two-part opus in the Ellington tradition. In the first section, Brownie's heroic voice etches a stately theme stretched over lush winds and muted brass. After a stinging climax, Clifford leads the band into a bright medium groove and sails with boppish abandon. Like all great improvisers, Brownie was never content to repeat himself. In take 2 of "Brown Skins," he sharpens his bite and fashions a more aggressive essay than that of take 1.

Similar contrasts are found in the other titles with a second take. In both big band and combo settings, the Paris dates capture the passion and precision that made Brownie so unique. After his return to the States, these qualities were brought to intense focus in the historic group he co-led with Max Roach. That, however, came to a tragic end when he was claimed by an automobile accident on June 26, 1956. Though Brownie's star burned but briefly, the legacy he left us is rich. An important part of that legacy, the Paris Collection, is contained herein.

SKU: IC7001

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Additional Information Listen Clifford Brown - The Paris Collection Brown Skins (Take 1) Brown Skins (Take 2) Deltitnu Keeping Up With Jonesy (Take 1) Keeping Up With Jonesy (Take 2) Conception (Take 1) Conception (Take 2) All the Things You Are (Take 1) All the Things You Are (Take 2) I Cover the Waterfront Goofin' With Me

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Clifford Brown
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Gigi Gryce, Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, Quincy Jones, Walter Williams, Fernand Verstraete, Fred Gerard, Al Hayse, Jimmy Cleveland, Bill Tamper, Anthony Ortega, Clifford Solomon, Henri Bernard, Henri Juot, Henri Renaud, Pierre Michelot, Alan Dawson
SKU IC7001


Customer Reviews (2)

Brown Gold!!Review by Big Toots
Over two consecutive days in September of 1953, Clifford Brown, then 22 years old, but already a well-known jazz commodity, recorded the two sessions that comprise this fascinating recording. In addition to Brownie and saxophonist Gigi Gryce (who acted as leader), the first session – using a large band ensemble - consisted of musicians from Lionel Hampton’s band (which was then touring Europe), some of who would go on to their own stellar performing careers (Quincy Jones, Art Farmer, Jimmy Cleveland and Alan Dawson) and fine French rhythm section. The subsequent session was a sextet session with Gryce and Brown frontlining predominantly the same rhythm ensemble. Both sessions soar.

The recording (especially more so in the first session, as he’s just a half-a-hair less energized in the second) offers Clifford playing at a level that is – and I’m sure was – awe-inspiring. Brown’s pure technical ability, his soaring sound, and higher register facility (in addition to his improvisational brilliance) are all readily apparent immediately on the two takes of Gryce’s “Brown Skins.” Those cuts (which, with their two tempo arranging formats, seem almost Stan Kenton-esque) alone are worth the price of admission. Brown stuns. Clifford’s and the sections’ Harmons buzz away on Quincy’s Basie-like “Keep Up with Jonesy” with Brown’s intense inventions standing out by a mile.

The smaller format provides Brown far more extended soloing – and he certainly grabs hold and takes advantage of the opportunity. Irrespective of the alternate take and repetition, Brown’s creative genius thrives. By this time, he’s already developed that uniquely Clifford Brown articulated style (although you can easily detect Fats Navarro shadings on “Goofin’ with Me”). Gryce also shines in both environs. A Parker acolyte, Gryce is a Bopper, for sure. And, he maintains a neat laid-back-on-the-beat feeling that jives neatly when juxtaposed with Brown’s stylings.

Brown’s approach to trumpet improvisation and melodic embellishment (“All the Things You Are,” “I Cover the Waterfront”) was echoed by later trumpeters such as Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw and everyone else. When stepping back in time and hearing Clifford here and then listening to the aforementioned greats, there’s no denying that their pedigree is obvious.

Clifford Brown The Paris Collection is a historical treasure worthy of being in the jazz exhibit at the Louvre – and certainly your collection.
(Posted on 5/4/2015)
Clifford BrownReview by Simon Sez
Poor Clifford. He might have been the greatest jazz trumpeter ever and he stayed clean throughout his life. No matter, he died in a car accident when he was just 25. Life just isn’t fair sometimes. He only had three years to amaze everyone, and few trumpeters have equaled him since then.
The Paris Collection has some of the great records that Brownie made in the fall of 1953. He was with the Lionel Hampton Big Band at the time and for some reason Hamp didn’t want his sidemen to make records overseas although he did. Brown didn’t listen to Hamp, and jazz fans have been grateful ever since. He is heard with a big band and a small group on this CD, both led by Gigi Gryce, really sounding excellent on “All The Things You Are” and “Brownskins” (which is really “Cherokee” at half the speed).

Simon Sez: Clifford Brown didn’t last long but The Paris Collection (IC7001) from 1953 with Gigi Gryce shows that he was a trumpet star.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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