Guide to the Ray Brown Papers

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1362
Creators:
Brown, Ray (Jazz musician)
Dates:
undated
circa 1940-2010
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Some materials in Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch.
Physical Description:
8 Cubic feet
8 boxes
Repository:
Ray Brown was an African-American musician, composer, bandleader, manager, music teacher and promoter. He became best known for his collaborative work with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, the Oscar Peterson Trio and Norman Granz' s Jazz at the Philharmonic. Over the course of his career, Brown received awards and accolades from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jazz Hall of Fame, Down Beat and Playboy. Brown's papers document his professional music career from 1944 to 2002 and include music compositions and notes, publicity materials, photographs and some recordings of his performances.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection primarily documents the near sixty-year music career of upright bass player, bandleader, composer, and instructor Raymond Matthews (Ray) Brown and the various bands that he played with. The materials consist of music manuscripts, musical arrangements, published sheet music, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, posters, audio and video recordings, honors and awards, correspondence, and publications. There is very little information about Brown's education, family or other aspects of his personal life.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into five series.
Series 1, Musical Compositions and Notes, 1940s-2000s, undated
Series 2, Publicity Materials, 1950s-2002, undated
Series 3, Photographic Materials, 1940-2003, undated
Series 4, Personal Papers, 1954-2010
Series 5, Audiovisual Materials, 1978-1993, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Raymond Matthews Brown was an African-American musician (double bass and cello) born on October 13, 1926 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became known for his collaborative work with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald (to whom he was married for a few years) and others. He was a composer, bandleader, manager, music teacher and promoter. His professional music career lasted almost sixty years, dating from 1944 to 2002.
Brown's career began with a risky move to New York City in 1945, as a recent high school graduate, which resulted in his being hired on the spot to play with Dizzy Gillespie. Brown continued to play with Gillespie and others in various groups, recording songs such as "One Bass Hit" and "Night in Tunisia," before leaving in 1947. Brown married notable jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald that same year. He and Fitzgerald adopted a son, Raymond Matthew Brown Jr., and performed together in Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. Granz's tours, which Brown participated in from around 1949 to 1958, allowed him to travel and play all around the world. After being introduced to Oscar Peterson during a Philharmonic tour, Brown became a founding member of the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1952. His growing commitment to the group, along with other factors, led to Brown and Fitzgerald's divorce in 1953. However, the two would continued to collaborate and perform together, as friends and colleagues.
Brown worked with Peterson and other prominent jazz musicians to found the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, which lasted from 1960 to 1965. He left the Peterson trio in the late 1960s and moved to Los Angeles to work as a composer, manager, educator, and publisher. In California, he worked for several movie and television show orchestras, became bassist for all of Frank Sinatra's television specials, and accompanied some noted singers, including Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Tony Bennett. He composed the theme song to Steve Allen's show, "Gravy Waltz," for which they both won a Grammy Award in 1964. He also managed the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Quincy Jones. In the 1980s, he formed the Ray Brown Trio with pianist Gene Harris, which lasted nine years. He also directed events such as the Monterey Jazz and Concord Summer Festivals, and consulted for the Hollywood Bowl Association. Brown continued to play and record with his trio and various other groups, such as the Oscar Peterson Trio and the Modern Jazz Quartet, for the rest of his life. He also published an instructional book for the bass, Ray Brown's Bass Method, through his own company in 1999. Over the course of his career, Brown received awards and accolades from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jazz Hall of Fame, Down Beat, Playboy, and many more. Ray Brown died in 2002 at the age of seventy five.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Kayla Foney and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, November-December 2015.
Author
Kayla Foney and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to the Archives Center in 2015 by Ray Brown's widow, Cecilia Brown.

Bibliography
Bibliography
Editors, Biography.com. "Ray Brown Biography." Biography A&E Networks Television, undated. Web. 04 December 2015.
"Ray Brown." Concord Music Group Concord Music Group, undated. Web. 04 December 2015.
"Ray Brown Trio." Concord Music Group Concord Music Group, undated. Web. 04 December 2015.
Merrill, Joan. "Jazz Profiles from NPR - Ray Brown." NPR, undated. Web. 04 December 2015.
Panken, Ted. "Remembering Ray Brown (1926-2002)." Jazz.com, 2002. Web. 03 December 2015.
Jung, Fred. "A Fireside Chat With Ray Brown." Jazz Weekly, undated. Web. 04 December 2015.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Ray Brown Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographic prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- Manuscripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African Americans -- Music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- Performance Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- Songs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Awards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musicians -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jazz musicians -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American music -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jazz Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American musicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shank, Bud Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clayton, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fitzgerald, Ella Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Granz, Norman Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peterson, Oscar, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Allen, Steve, 1921-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jackson, Milt Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives