An interview with legendary Hartford jazz bassist and music educator
With a career spanning more than half a century, bassist Paul Brown has performed with many of the luminaries of the jazz world: Dexter Gordon, Bill Hardman, Al Haig and Junior Cook, just to name a few. In addition, he's fronted his own quartet and backed up well known vocalists including Betty Carter, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra.
In 1967 Brown founded Monday Night Jazz, a series of concerts featuring both jazz greats and up-and-comers, and produced the events nearly single-handedly for 40 years. The concerts took place in several venues before becoming a summer staple in Hartford, Connecticut's beautiful Bushnell Park. Brown also founded the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in 1992 and taught at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts for almost 20 years.
Known to his friends and colleagues as "P.B.," Brown is still an active and sought-after musician, performing regularly in Greater Hartford as well as venues in Japan, Australia and throughout the world. In an interview conducted on his back porch in the summer of 2009, he shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects.
- P.B.'s Personal History: His family, early years, and the beginnings of his connection with Hartford, Connecticut's jazz scene.
- P.B.'s Philosophy of Jazz: It's American beginings, roots in the black community, and international influence.
- P.B. Launches Monday Night Jazz: Brown created a series of free community jazz concerts in 1964 in part to quell the urban unrest so prevalent at that time. In 1967 the series officially became Monday Night Jazz and now has the distinction of being the oldest continuously-run free jazz festival in the nation.
- P.B.'s Legacy, Monday Night Jazz: Brown describes how Hartford's Monday Night Jazz series grew and developed ---- and continues to "keep the peace" in Connecticut's capitol city. He also tells how his involvement came to an end after producing the festival nearly single-handedly for 40 years.