Brownie Speaks at Newport: July 30, 2015 – 7:30 PM
Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center
49 Touro Street Street, Newport, Rhode Island 02840
“Now it’s our pleasure to present a young man who has astounded the jazz world with his amazing talent in the last two years. His name is Clifford Brown. And here is his interpretation of I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You.”
Max Roach spoke those words at the Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday, July 16, 1955. It would be Clifford’s only appearance at the Festival, as he died tragically in a car accident the following summer on June 27, 1956.
The 1955 Newport Jazz Festival took place in Newport, Rhode Island’s Freebody Park. It was a three-day event that began on Friday, July 15. The Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet started the Saturday night program under cloudy skies and the threat of rain. Along with Clifford and Max, the group included Harold Land (tenor saxophone), Richie Powell (piano), and George Morrow (bass). Writing for Down Beat, Jack Tracy noted the group “ignited a fire right away.” Their program included Daahoud, I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You, Jacqui, and I Get a Kick Out of You. The set is available through RLR Records, or on line at http://www.concertvault.com/support/newport-jazz.html. In “Newport Jazz Festival: The Illustrated History,” Burt Goldblatt recounts: “Two trumpets dominated the Festival for me. The first was that of Clifford Brown, a gentle, introverted human being. Clifford played a brilliant set on Saturday night.”
An evening of notable jazz performers followed the Quintet, including Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Russ Freeman, Bob Carter, Buzzy Drootin, Dinah Washington (backed by Max Roach, Richie Powell, and George Morrow), Chet Baker, Peter Littman, Gerry Mulligan, Al Cohn, Bob Brookmeyer, Marian McPartland, Bill Crow, Joe Morello, Jimmy McPartland, Wild Bill Davison, Pee Wee Russell, Vic Dickenson, George Wein, Milt Hinton, Bud Freeman, Teddy King, and Dave Brubeck (with Paul Desmond, Joe Dodge, and Bob Bates).
At the end of Brubeck’s set, his group was joined on stage by Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Gerry Mulligan, and Chet Baker for a closing jam session on Tea for Two. Goldblatt provides a vivid account: “They crackled! Max attacked the standard savagely. While the group pounded away to the closing moments of the evening, the most telling moments were made by Max and Clifford. The crowded audience left their seats to encircle the stage, and George Wein came out waving his arms like a windmill to halt the festivities. Clifford ignored the producer, digging his head deeper into his shoulders, scrunching his face up even more than it had been, and blasting out a gorgeous, fire-breathing final chorus. At that moment the rain, which had been threatening all day, started to splatter against his horn.” A partial recording (9:41) of the ending jam session is available on RLR Records.
After the Festival appearance the Quintet moved on to perform the next evening in Lenox, MA at the famed Berkshire Music Barn while another trumpeter, Miles Davis, made his Newport Jazz Festival debut.
Please join us this year as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Clifford Brown’s performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. A special night of film and music will be presented at the Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center in Newport, Rhode Island on Thursday, July 30 (the eve of the Newport Jazz Festival), beginning at 7:30 PM. Featured will be a screening of our new film Brownie Speaks, a discussion with the filmmakers, and a musical tribute by Philadelphia’s University of the Arts – Graduate Jazz Ensemble.
Hope to see you in Newport!
Head of Graduate Jazz Studies
The University of the Arts
Brownie Speaks: A Video Documentary
For additional information contact:
Jane Pickens Theater and Event Center
49 Touro Street, Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Box Office: 401 846 5252
Glanden Productions LLC
302 475 4693
Brownie Speaks at Newport is sponsored by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA