Ray Brown

Active - 1985 - 2016  |   Born - Oct 13, 1926   |   Died - Jul 2, 2002   |   Genres - Music

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A jazz bassist who revolutionized the use of the instrument in swing and bebop and backed such legendary musical figures as Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, Grammy-winning musician/composer Ray Brown regularly appeared on The Merv Griffin Show as well as actively recorded film music from the late '50s until the late '70s. A Pittsburgh native, Brown so impressed Gillespie during an early rehearsal that the newly arrived 19-year-old New Yorker earned a coveted spot in the band, and was wed to Fitzgerald (whom he would continue to work with even after the couple's divorce) shortly thereafter. His association with Gillespie's band found Brown also joining Charlie Parker to record with the Milt Jackson Quartet, and a lucrative association with pianist Oscar Peterson followed. An early-'60s collaboration with Steve Allen resulted in the Grammy award-winning Gravy Waltz, and Brown would subsequently score films for John Cassavetes and perform on Sinatra's television specials. Though often uncredited, his compositions appeared in such animated shorts as Hawks and Doves (1968) and A Dopey Hacienda (1970). In July 2002, Ray Brown died in his sleep in Indianapolis. He was 75.

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