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July 05, 2002
Goodbye Ray Brown...


Seventy-five year old, jazz bassist Ray Brown died the other day. He was one of bebop's greats, a true master. He played with and was briefly married to Ella Fitzgerald. He played with Oscar Peterson for over 15 years, and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. I was lucky enough to see him and meet him a couple times when he passed through Seattle at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. At the time I was dating an aspiring jazz bassist, Lamar Lofton. We had a turbulent relationship, for something not so serious. If and when we actually went out together, versus meeting up late at night at a bar or after hours club, we generally went to local dives. On rare occassions he would call me up and tell me to put on a nice dress. Dimitriou's was expensive, but he would finagle a way in for us and we would sit right in front. Lamar actually took bass lessons from Ray Brown when he would come to town. We stayed late one night and talked to him while he loaded up his bass. Lamar offered to carry it for him, he pushed him away and the seventy year old veteran said, "I always carry my own equipment."

rb guitar.jpg

Here's Ray on jazz:

"Well, jazz is to me, a complete lifestyle. It's bigger than a word. It's a much bigger force than just something that you can say. It's something that you have to feel. It's something that you have to live. I grew up listening to this music. I knew when I first heard it as a small boy that I had to play it. It's never left me. I think that that has to happen to you. You have to love it. It's an undying love. It's not based on money. It's just based on doing it as good as you can do it."

Posted by Molli at July 05, 2002 02:22 PM







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