Smithsonian Collections

Ray Brown

Image for Ray Brown
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
In Ray Brown’s hands, the double bass provided more than a percussive pulse—it sang. Brown took up the instrument in high school and developed his technique by emulating the performance style of Duke Ellington’s legendary bassist, Jimmy Blanton. Hired by Dizzy Gillespie for his big band in 1946, Brown quickly proved his mettle with a memorable solo on the jaunty number “One Bass Hit.” He met Ella Fitzgerald while touring with Gillespie and served briefly as her musical director following their marriage in 1947. After leaving Gillespie’s band, Brown helped to found what later became the Modern Jazz Quartet; he also began his association with impresario Norman Granz’s “Jazz at the Philharmonic.” It was through JATP that Brown was first teamed with the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson—an encounter that led to Brown’s fruitful tenure (1951–66) as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio.
En manos de Ray Brown, el contrabajo era mucho más que pulso rítmico: lo hacía cantar. Brown comenzó a tocar en la escuela superior y desarrolló su técnica emulando el estilo de Jimmy Blanton, el legendario bajista de Duke Ellington. En 1946 Dizzy Gillespie lo contrató para su orquesta y muy pronto probó su calibre con un solo memorable en el ágil número “One Bass Hit”. Brown conoció a Ella Fitzgerald en una gira con Gillespie y se casó con ella en 1947, fungiendo por un tiempo como su director musical. Al separarse de la orquesta de Gillespie, ayudó a fundar el que luego sería el Modern Jazz Quartet y también inició su asociación con la serie de conciertos “Jazz at the Philharmonic”, organizada por el empresario Norman Granz. Fue a través de esta serie que Brown colaboró por primera vez con el gran pianista Oscar Peterson, encuentro que conduciría a una fecunda etapa de Brown (1951–66) como integrante del Oscar Peterson Trio.
Artist
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010
Sitter
Ray Brown, 13 Oct 1926 - 2 Jul 2002
Date
1948 (printed 1998)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image: 39.4 × 30.4cm (15 1/2 × 11 15/16")
Sheet: 50.4 × 40.5cm (19 13/16 × 15 15/16")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
Type
Photograph
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
NPG.2014.111.5
Culture
Ray Brown: American\African American
Topic
Music\Musical instrument
Indeterminable
Ray Brown: Male
Ray Brown: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz
Portrait
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Restrictions & Rights
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC