Paul Brown

An interview with legendary Hartford jazz bassist and music educator

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Video Playlist
P.B.'s Personal History
P.B.'s Philosophy of Jazz
P.B. Launches Monday Night Jazz
P.B.'s Legacy, Monday Night Jazz
Paul Brown
(2009)

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.

Segments:

  • 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.

  

Comments

CALL ME, PB

Yo, PB, it's Myron and I've been looking for you forever!!! Brofsky is still playing and teaching, lives in Brooklyn. I'll see him and play with him next week. David Levy is alive and well--works at Sotheby's.
Gone: Larry Rivers, Howard Kanowitz, Arnie Lawrence.
Please get in touch, Paul. I miss you a lot and I'm looking to play!

Monday Night Jazz

PB has his dates wrong. The Hartford Festival of Jazz began in the summer of 1968. PB and I started it as a collaboration between the City of Hartford, the Community Renewal Team, and Connecticut Public TV based at Trinity College.

Paul Brown and John Lamenzo were the original Co-Founders and Co-Directors.

For PB to erase an important part of Hartford's cultural history to aggrandize himself is nothing more than an ego out-of-control.

Research the Hartford Courant archives. It's all there.

I had by 1968 a long association with jazz. I connected PB with Donald Byrd who assisted us in getting the best musicians from NYC to come to Hartford in '68 and '69.

It is a tribute to many people in Hartford that these concerts still endure, not just one person.

John Lamenzo
Santa Fe, NM

I love Paul Brown!

I've interviewed him twice...and he ended up renting our apartment in the West End when Jen and I moved. What a guy...

Thanks,
jd