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Delaware: Portrait in Time

Brownie and His Horn: Wilmington 's Jazz Legend

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Born in 1930 in Wilmington , Delaware , Clifford Brown was the youngest of eight kids. He grew up surrounded by music in a townhouse in the center of Poplar Street , now renamed Clifford Brown walk. As a young high school student, Brown began playing the trumpet and training with jazz enthusiast Robert Lowery. By his late teens, he was jamming with jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro and Miles Davis.
For many young aspiring musicians, inspiration came from the horn of a man they called Brownie. Ace Tessone, remembers playing with Clifford Brown at Music City in Philadelphia in the 50's. Brown was killed the day after a jam session with Tessone in a car wreck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was 1956; Clifford Brown was only 25.

It was not just Brownie's trumpet playing that was missed. For many young musicians he was a mentor and a role model. Brown would have turned 75 later this year and his legacy lives on. Every June, Wilmington hosts the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival - the East Coast's largest free jazz festival.