Tuesday, September 10, 2013



(b. September 8, 1931--d. October 18, 2010)

from Henry English PLUS 2 years ago / via Vimeo Desktop Uploader NOT YET RATED
 Film (1967) on Free Jazz musician MARION BROWN, who died in October, 2010. 

Filmmaker Henry English's first film
href="http://vimeo.com/19619667">YOU SEE WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY
from Henry English

on Vimeo.

Marion Brown biography:

Marion Brown (born 8 September 1935 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA) is a jazz alto-saxophonist and ethnomusicologist.

Brown studied music education, political science, and history at Clark College and Howard University. He played in an army band, before heading to New York in 1957. It was here that he became involved in the free jazz movement, playing on early free jazz albums such as Archie Shepp’s Fire Music and John Coltrane’s Ascension. In the mid-1960s he travelled to Europe where he developed an interest in African music. He returned to the US in 1970, where he began teaching and studying linguistics and composition.
He has also performed with Harold Budd, John Fischer and Gunter Hampel.

MARION BROWN (1931-2010), Alto saxophonist, composer, and painter

Brown was the subject of a documentary film by Henry English, 1967 entitled: "YOU SEE WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY?

A film by Henry English:

Marion Brown, born in Atlanta, Georgia (September 8, 1931), is best known for being a player on John Coltrane's Ascension album, a landmark in the "Free Jazz" movement which was released in 1965. 

After studying music and pre-law, he moved to New York City in 1962 where he became part of the vibrant art and music scene there. Friends and colleagues included Amiri Baraka, Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Paul Bley and Rashied Ali.

In 1967, he moved to Paris where he expanded his creative horizons to include architecture, African music, Impressionistic art and the music of Eric Satie. 

In 1970, he returned to the US where he became an educator. He pursued academic studies in ethnomusicology and held several teaching posts in American colleges and universities. 

In 1981, Brown began focusing on drawing and painting, but as always continued to play and compose. 

Brown passed away in Florida on October 18, 2010.

See more at: 


Marion Brown
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marion Brown
Born September 8, 1931
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Died October 18, 2010 (aged 79)
Genres Avant-garde, jazz
Occupations Saxophonist, ethnomusicologist
Instruments Alto saxophone
Years active 1962–1990

Marion Brown (September 8, 1931 – October 18, 2010[1]) was a jazz alto saxophonist and ethnomusicologist. He is most well known as a member of the 1960s avant-garde jazz scene in New York City, playing alongside musicians such as John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and John Tchicai. He performed on Coltrane's landmark 1965 album Ascension.[2]


1 Biography
2 Influence
3 Discography
3.1 As leader
3.2 As sideman
4 References
5 External links
Brown was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1931. He joined the Army in 1953 and in 1956 went to Clark College to study music. In 1960 Brown left Atlanta and studied pre-law at Howard University for two years. He moved in 1962 to New York, where he befriended poet Amiri Baraka and many musicians including Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Paul Bley and Rashied Ali. He appeared on several important albums from this period, such as Shepp's Fire Music and New Wave in Jazz, but most notably John Coltrane's Ascension.[3]

In 1967, Brown travelled to Paris, France where he developed an interest in architecture, Impressionistic art, African music and the music of Eric Satie. In the late 1960s, he was an American Fellow in Music Composition and Performance at the Cité Internationale Des Artists in Paris. Around 1970, he provided the soundtrack for Marcel Camus' film Le Temps fou, a soundtrack featuring Steve McCall, Barre Phillips, Ambrose Jackson and Gunter Hampel.[3]

Brown returned to the US in 1970, where he felt a newfound sense of creative drive. He moved to New Haven, Connecticut, to serve as a resource teacher in a child study center in the city's public school system until 1971. He composed and performed incidental music for a Georg Büchner play, Woyzeck. In 1971, Brown was an assistant professor of music at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, a position he held until he attained his Bachelor's degree in 1974. In addition to this role, he held faculty positions at Brandeis University (1971–74), Colby College (1973–74), and Amherst College (1974–75), as well as a graduate assistant position at Wesleyan University (1974–76). Brown earned a Master's degree in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan in 1976. His master's thesis was entitled "Faces and Places: The Music and Travels of a Contemporary Jazz Musician".[3]

In 1976 he played alto saxophone on Harold Budd's The Pavilion of Dreams. Throughout his many educational positions, Brown continued to compose and perform. In 1972 and 1976, Brown received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, which he used to compose and publish several pieces for solo piano, one of which was based on the poetry of Jean Toomer in his book Cane. He also transcribed some piano and organ music by Eric Satie including his Messe Des Pauvres and Pages Mysterieuses, and arranged the composer's Les Fils Des Etoiles for two guitars and violin.[3]

In 1981, Brown began focusing on drawing and painting. His charcoal portrait of blues guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson was included in a New York City Kenkeleba Gallery art show called Jus' Jass, which also included works by artists such as Romare Bearden, Charles Searles and Joe Overstreet.[3]
By the 2000s, Brown had fallen ill; due to a series of surgeries and a partial leg amputation, Brown resided for a time in a nursing home in New York.[4] By 2005 he had moved to an assisted living facility in Hollywood, Florida, where he died in 2010, aged 79.[5]


Pianist Amina Claudine Myers' debut album Poems for Piano: The Piano Music of Marion Brown (Sweet Earth, 1979) featured Brown's compositions predominantly.

Aside from his influence in the jazz avant-garde, several other areas of music have taken interest in Brown's music. Indie rockers Superchunk included a song called "Song For Marion Brown" on their Indoor Living release, and Savath and Savalas released a piece entitled "Two Blues For Marion Brown" as part of Hefty Records's Immediate Action series.[citation needed]

His Name Is Alive performed a tribute concert in 2004, performing solely Brown's music. In 2007, High Two released portions of the concert with studio versions as Sweet Earth Flower: A Tribute to Marion Brown.[citation needed]


As leader[edit source]
1966: Three for Shepp (Impulse!)
1966: Juba Lee (Fontana)
1966: Why Not? (ESP-Disk)
1967: Marion Brown Quartet (ESP / Fontana)
1967: Porto Novo (Arista)
1968: Gesprächsfetzen (with Gunter Hampel) (Calig)
1969; In Sommerhausen (with Gunter Hampel and Jeanne Lee)
1970: Afternoon of a Georgia Faun (ECM)
1973: Duets (Freedom)
1973: Geechee Recollections (Impulse!)
1974: Sweet Earth Flying (Impulse!)
1975: Vista (Impulse!)
1977: La Placita / Live in Willisau (Timeless Muse)
1977: Solo Saxophone (Sweet Earth)
1977: Zenzile Featuring Marion Brown (Baystate)
1978: Passion Flower (Baystate)
1979: November Cotton Flower (Baystate)
1978: Reeds 'n Vibes (with Gunter Hampel) (Improvising Artists)
1979: Soul Eyes (Baystate)
1980: Back To Paris (Freelance Records)
1983: Gemini (Birth)
1985: Recollections (Creative Works)
1985: Songs of Love and Regret (Freelance, with Mal Waldron)
1988: Much More (Freelance)
1990: Native Land (ITM)
As sideman[edit source]
With John Coltrane
Ascension (1965)
With Archie Shepp
Attica Blues
Fire Music
With Harold Budd
The Pavilion of Dreams


^ ESP-'Disk Celebrates the Life of Marion Brown, http://lounge.espdisk.com/archives/564
^ New York Times obit for Brown
^ a b c d e Marion Brown: Recollections. Frankfurt a. Main: J. A. Schmidt, 1984.
^ A Fireside Chat with Marion Brown by Fred Jung
^ Marion Brown's last years.
External links[edit source]

"A Fireside Chat with Marion Brown" from All About Jazz
Audio Recordings of WCUW Jazz Festivals - Jazz History Database
Marion Brown Discography
WorldCat entry for Brown's ethnomusicology thesis.
You See What I'm Trying to Say (1967) Henry English film on Marion Brown