Note(s)A trombonist with Duke Ellington’s orchestra for decades, Lawrence Olen Brown (1907 – 1988) ranks with trombone innovators J. C. Higginbotham and Jack Teagarden, artists who carved out distinct voices in the early days of jazz trombone. Brown’s sweet ballads and fast flowing lines displayed a technical virtuosity recognized by peers such as Tommy Dorsey, Bill Harris and Quentin Jackson. Brown’s career began as a professional jazz musician in regional California bands including stints with Charlie Echols band and Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders (1929-1930), and made recordings with Louis Armstrong in the Les Hite Orchestra before joining Ellington in 1932. Brown played in the Ellington orchestra for 19 years until leaving to play with the Duke’s star tenor player Johnny Hodges. With only two outings as a leader Brown left an extensive discography throughout his lengthy career as a sideman and studio musician but hung up his trombone in 1970 to work as a music agent for the musicians union.
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Organization NameRutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University. Institute of Jazz Studies
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