Ray Brown “Jazz Hero”
Ray Brown “Jazz Hero” Presentation
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
(April 22, 2014, Santa Cruz, California) For the past several years, the Jazz Journalists Association, an international group of media professionals working to advance the legacy of jazz music through journalistic endeavors, has honored local “Jazz Heroes” during the month of April – which is also Jazz Appreciation Month as named by the Smithsonian Institute. Jazz Heroes are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz that have had significant impact in their local communities. Kuumbwa Jazz has nominated big band leader, trumpet player, arranger, composer, educator and author Ray Brown as our local “Jazz Hero.” Prior to Kuumbwa’s sold out Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort concert on April 21, 2014, Ray was presented with a “Jazz Hero” award by Jazz Journalist Association member Bill Minor.
Ray Brown has been Head of Jazz Studies at Cabrillo College for 39 years (also as long as Kuumbwa Jazz has been in existence). He comes from a musical family. Ray’s father, Glenn, served as a high-school band director for over 25 years, and was a pioneer in jazz education at the scholastic level; both of Ray’s parents held musical degrees from Ithaca College. The Browns passed on their love of music to their three sons: Glenn Jr, Steve, and Ray. Ray played with and provided arrangements for the bands of Stan Kenton, Bill Watrous, Bill Berry, the Frank Capp-Nat Pierce Juggernaut—and with the Full Faith and Credit Big Band. He conducted the Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra on the 1999 “Roy Hargrove with Strings: Moment to Moment” recording—and conducted his wife Sue Brown’s Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra for appearances by several major artists.
Below are a few comments from musicians who’ve studied or played with Ray:
“I studied with Ray at Cabrillo in the mid 90′s; he’s the best Jazz educator in the country.” – Steve Uchello; bassist
“Ray has accompanied his role as a teacher with the empathy and compassion of caring for his students that underlies everything he has accomplished, and for which he has garnered true and loyal dedication from those who have sat under his expert tutoring … I, and many others are truly better people for having known and worked with Ray Brown.” – Paul Contos; saxophonist, Monterey Jazz Festival Education Director and Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Director