The Clifford Brown story is pretty tragic. Born in Wilmington DE, he was an up-and-coming trumpeter, urged by the great Dizzy Gillespie himself to further his musical career. One rainy night in 1956, Brown, another promising musician named Richie Powell, and Powell’s wife were traveling from Philly to Chicago on the turnpike. Powell’s wife was driving, and lost control of the car; all three died in the crash.
The crash happened on Brown’s second wedding anniversary; he was only 25. That day was also his wife’s 22nd birthday.
Although Clifford Brown only recorded for four years, his legacy of music influenced later jazz musicians considerably, and every year the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival pays tribute with a week of music, free and open to the public.
Rodney Square Festival Schedule:
Tuesday, June 21st
- 6:00 pm- Manifest 3
- 8:00 pm- Junior Mance Quintet
Wednesday, June 22nd
- 6:00 pm- The Avery Sharpe Quintet
- 8:00 pm- Ninety Miles feat. Stefon Harris, David Sanchez & Christian Scott
Thursday, June 23rd
- 6:00 pm- The Ronny Jordan Full Band
- 8:00 pm- Soul of Summer featuring Jonathan Butler, Eric Darius & Maysa
Friday, June 24th
- 5:00 pm- The Metta Quintet
- 6:45 pm- Tizer featuring Chieli Minucci & Karen Briggs
- 8:30 pm- Take 6
Saturday, June 25th
- 3:30 pm- The Captain Black Big Band
- 5:00 pm- Rene Marie “Voice of My Beautiful County” tour featuring Rene Marie- vocals, Kevin Bales- piano, Kevin Hamilton- bass & Quentin Baxter- drums
- 7:00 pm- Rufus Reid’s Out Front Quintet featuring Rufus Reid- Bass, Steve Allee- Piano, Duduka da Fonseca- Drums, Freddie Hendrix- Trumpet & J.D. Allen- Tenor Sax
- 9:00 pm- Sweet Clifford: The Music of Clifford Brown
Jeremy Pelt, Tom Harrell, David Weiss and Valery Ponomarev – Trumpets
Anthony Wonsey- Piano, Dezron Douglas- Bass, Louis Hayes- Drums
Especially for the kids, these events take place on Saturday June 25th and are also free & open to the public:
- 1:00 pm: Peanut Butter, Jam ‘n Jazz at the World Cafe Live with JazzReach performing “Hangin’ With the Giants” aimed at children from kindergarten to 4th grade.
- 2:45 pm: Peanut Butter, Jam ‘n Jazz at the World Cafe Live with JazzReach performing “Big Drum Small World” aimed at 3rd to 6th graders.
In addition, there are lunchtime concerts at The Grand and other venues; a cultural arts class in swing, jazz, & bebop; a community talk with Rene Marie; and a free film (Ninety Miles) at Theatre N.
For info on all the musicians listed here, lunchtime concerts, directions, parking, etc., check out the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival website.