John Brown
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John Brown

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE | AFM

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"...quote following a concert..."

John - [I] Didn’t want the day to go by without saying thank you and congratulations on a job so very well done last night...

What you do is so much bigger than what you’re recognized for so far... The musicianship that’s shared, the total fruit of your group’s collaboration and support of each other in creating that final product is remarkable. You exhibit this gigantic volume of giving to each other — but all within a framework of palpable gratitude and honor for what the other is providing. It’s wonderful to see — and even more so to hear. The shape of the set, the diversity of style & approach, the utter lack of phoning anything in is a true gift to your audience. There’s a twinkle in every eye on that stage, a tiny trace of a mischievous grin that keeps us all anticipating what comes next — still yet surprising us at where it goes. The music is far larger than “quintet” applies. There’s orchestra there. There’s symphony there. There’s phenomenal musicality. It’s five-point virtuosity with every tune... - Stephen Barefoot

"Indy Award for Best Jazz Artist"

The John Brown Quintet is selected as the Best Jazz Artist by a reader's poll conducted by the Independent Weekly - The Independent Weekly

"Jazz | John Brown, Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers -- Vol. 1"

John Brown, director of Duke University's jazz program, has a percussive, infectiously swinging beat on the bass. On "Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers -- Vol. 1" (JBjazz), you can hear how solidly he might have fit in the line of bassists that performed with drummer Blakey over the years -- bassists such as Doug Watkins, Jymie Merritt, Reggie Workman, Dennis Irwin, Charles Fambrough and Lonnie Plaxico.

For the album, Brown employs New Orleans-born drummer Adonis Rose and North Carolina musicians Ray Codrington (trumpet), Brian Miller (alto and tenor saxophone) and Gabe Evens (piano). Rose captures the Blakey style via a heavy backbeat and the occasional thundering transition passage between choruses. But he also allows his New Orleans, second-line instinvcts to shine through, as on the opening "Caravan." Codrington leads off the solos on this tune with a perky, darting outing reminiscent of the late Thad Jones.

"Moanin'," a call-and-response Jazz Messengers staple, features Brown in the lead answered with a musical "Amen" in the horns. Evens' solo builds from a light-fingered single line to a stomping chordal climax. The pianist also excels on "The Preacher," a rhythm section track with Brown walking a fat, uplifting beat in the spirit of Ray Brown (no kin). On "Lady Bop," another funky track, Miller uncorks a fine, speechlike tenor solo full of bluesy turns and bent notes.

The Brown quintet celebrates the release of this album and "Merry Christmas, Baby," a holiday CD, with a concert at 7 tonight at Hayti Heritage Center in Durham. The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble opens. Part of the $10 ticket price benefits the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. Call 683-1709 for tickets and information. - News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)

"Jazz Times"

"Brown's woody bass tones and are resounding and full of siulful authority . . ."

"Brown . . . provides a formidable loping groove and a brilliant bass solo . . ."

" . . . solidly swinging and full of deep feeling from start to finish." - Bill Milikowski

"Critic's Picks"

One of two Critic's Pick's for must see performances of the weekend. - Owen Cordle, The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

"Best Bets"

Best Bet for the week's performances. - The Indepenedent Weekly, (Triangle, NC)


"Thank you for the great work you and JB5 did this week! This was by far the best in-school residency the Arts Council has ever done. The kids this morning just kept saying, "It was an amazing experience." And I second that! I know you really made a difference in those students' lives, and it reminded me why I love my job . . . Thanks again for touching lives through the arts!” - Charlotte Smith - Watauga County Arts Council

"Concert - Asheville, NC"

“Each soloist was superb, and ensemble playing was tight and compelling. The standing ovation and insistence on an encore told the tale.” - Bo Farson

"Concert Comments - Roanoke, VA"

“John, my thanks also go out to you for bringing such a top-notch group here. They are all killer players, and you had a great sound together - good charts, tunes, etc. The whole committee thought you all were great and look forward to working with you sometime in the future! All the best!" - Charlie Perkinson


Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - self released (November 2007)

Merry Christmas, Baby - self-released (November, 2007)

Our recording, "Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" reached NUMBER 8 on the national JazzWeek chart and stayed on the chart in the TOP 50 for FOUR consecutive months!!!

For the week edning December 31st, 2007, our two latest recordings "Terms of Art" and "Merry Christmas, Baby" were BOTH in the TOP 40 for national airplay on the JazzWeek chart!

Please visit for samples and information on purchasing them. Thanks!!



"Brown's woody bass tones are resounding and full of soulful authority . . . brilliant bass solo . . . solidly swinging and full of deep feeling from start to finish." Jazz Times

“ . . . a hard-swinging bassist . . . solid hard-bop music, played with consummate skill . . . “

“Raising the bar for bassists.” International Musician Magazine

“ . . . incredible bass playing . . .” Celebrity Cafe

“ . . . a percussive infectiously swinging beat on the bass . . .” The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

“ . . . stellar . . . a massively skilled and knowledgeable bassist . . .” Metro Magazine (NC)


Our new recording "Terms of Art: A Tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers" reached NUMBER 8 on the JazzWeek chart for NATIONAL airplay!!

For the week edning December 31st, 2007, our two latest recordings "Terms of Art" and "Merry Christmas, Baby" were BOTH in the TOP 40 for national airplay on the JazzWeek chart!


John Brown is a well established, Grammy-nominated bassist and is the Director of the Jazz Program at Duke University. John has performed in the United States and abroad with artists like Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Diahann Carroll, Nell Carter, Rosemary Clooney, Lou Donaldson, Frank Foster, David Fathead Newman, Nicholas Payton, Cedar Walton, Fred Wesley and Mark Whitfield, and he boasts a Grammy Nomination for his performance and co-writing on Nnenna Freelon's 1996 Concord release, "Shaking Free." He has also performed regularly with the North Carolina Symphony since 1992. Now leading his own group, John is happy to have a jazz group made up of friends who have known each other for years and simply share a deep love for music. When Brian, Gabe, John, Ray and Adonis get together, they form an exciting mix of talent and brotherhood encompassing the past, present and future of jazz. The combination of the diverse backgrounds of each band member, and the fire they bring to the music, makes this group the perfect setting for dynamic and creative ideas to flourish. They play with the right balance of high energy, intense swing, relaxed mainstream grooves and pensive and contemplative ballads – a balance they know well.

The John Brown Quintet performs a wide range of jazz styles including original versions and new arrangements of traditional jazz standards, modern jazz pieces and original compositions of each band member. Collectively, the band members share decades of experience performing for all types of events all over the world. The members of the group have performed at some of the world's best known venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Jazz a Vienne (France) and other festivals in Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Belgium and Japan.

ABOUT John . . .

John Brown is a native of Fayetteville, NC and is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John began studying the bass when he was nine years old with Susan Ellington, and has been performing professionally since his teens. He began performing with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra at thirteen, and was playing Principal Bass with that orchestra while still in high school. At UNC-Greensboro he studied bass with Jack Budrow, and while still an undergraduate, he began performing with the North Carolina Symphony. In college, John also developed a great love for jazz, and began pursuing careers in both jazz and classical music.

In addition to performing with the artists listed above, John's extensive experience includes performances at notable venues like Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, the Kennedy Center, the Hollywood Bowl, and at major jazz festivals including the Playboy Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival and Jazz e Vienne.

Equally gifted in other areas of performance, John has performed for major theatre productions including the Japan tour of "Blues in the Night" with Roz Ryan and Freda Payne, shows at the National Black Theater Festival, the Broadway Series South and off Broadway performances. John made his acting debut in 1991 when he co-starred in the role of Jimmy Powers (re-written for John as a bassist) in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" at the Broach Theatre and performed in the same show (as the performing bassist) with Jackee Harry. John has also appeared in "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," "Stompin' at the Savoy," "Radioland Murders," and "Hellraiser III." Among John's recording credits is