After leaving Hodges, Brown took a position for five years with CBS as a session player. In 1960, Brown rejoined Ellington and stayed with him until 1970. After leaving Ellington's band the second time at the age of 63, Brown quit performing completely. Brown fulfilled many roles in the Ellington Orchestra—as a balladeer, technical soloist, and section leader. His highly melodic ballad playing as well as his fast technical style inspired trombonists from Tommy Dorsey to Bill Harris. Discography: 1955: Slide Trombone Featuring Lawrence Brown (Clef Records) 1965: Inspired Abandon (Impulse! Records) #2 - Lawrence Benjamin Brown (Jacksonville, Florida, August 28, 1893 - December 25, 1972) was an American composer, pianist and arranger.
Paul Robeson was the first to use Brown's arrangements of spirituals. Brown was raised by his father, Clark Benjamin Brown, son of a former slave, and his stepmother, Cenia. Brown's natural mother died when he was only three years old. While still a small child, Brown received his first music lessons under the instruction of William Riddick. EXhibiting remarkable talent, he was sent to Boston to study. In 1920, further studies took him to London's Trinity College.
One of Brown's teachers in composition in London was Amanda Aldridge, daughter of the great tragedian, Ira Aldridge. Brown's natural abilities to compose and arrange, as well as sing and play the piano, made him an outstanding asset to the music world. In 1916, Brown made his debut as accompanist to the famous tenor, Sydney Woodward. Soon after, Roland Hayes, another renowned tenor, selected Brown as accompanist, and the two toured abroad from 1918 to 1923. During their professional association, Brown was awarded as great an acclaim as Hayes.
In April 1921, Brown and Roland Hayes appeared before the King and Queen of England at Buckingham Palace. Brown spent the fall of 1925 in folksong research, delving into the history of black music. His research took him deep into the southern parts of the U. S. where he was so inspired by the songs of the workmen on the wharves and in the fields that he began to arrange numerous traditional spirituals.
More than thirty of these arrangements have been published. Brown is known for seeking to preserve every detail of black music in rhythm and content. Spirituals arranged by Brown include "Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho," "Steal Away," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "L'il David," and "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel" which have become traditions in folk and religious lore. In addition to the spirituals, Lawrence Brown also arranged compositions for cello and piano and violin and piano, as well as the voice. He played some of his arrangements with Beatrice Harrison, acclaimed cellist, at Wigmore Hall in England in 1923. Paul Robeson was the first to use Brown's arrangements of spirituals at a recital in the Greenwich Village Theatre on April 19, 1925.
This event marked the beginning of a long and successful association which lasted for over thirty-five years until 1968. The spirituals arranged and played by Lawrence Brown and sung by Paul Robeson, sometimes with vocal harmony from Brown, have become legend. The Robeson-Brown recitals were performed in New York, London, Paris and the British Isles. The pair appeared before royalty, including the King of Spain, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York. Brown and Robeson also recorded together for RCA Victor records.
And, in August of 1945, Brown and Robeson toured with u.s.O. Camp shows performing for troops abroad. Lawrence Brown never married and died in Harlem Hospital on December 25, 1972 at 79 years of age. He had spent the last 47 years of his life in Harlem at 1BB West 135th Street. On February 11, 1973, the Committee to Preserve the Lawrence Brown Collection presented a memorial concert at st. Martin's Episcopal Church.Brown was married to actress Fredi Washington.
He died in Los Angeles, California. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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