Raymond Harry “Ray” Brown (born November 7, 1946) is an American composer, arranger, trumpet player, and jazz educator. He has performed as trumpet player and arranged music for Stan Kenton (early 1970s), Bill Watrous, Bill Berry, Frank Capp – Nat Pierce (Juggernaut Big Band), and the Full Faith and Credit Big Band.
Brown joined Kenton in September 1971, succeeding Gary Lee Pack [b. 1950; Director of Jazz Studies (retired), University of Southern Maine], holding the jazz trumpet chair and serving as an improv clinician. The Kenton trumpet section included Mike Vax, Jay Saunders, and . Brown also contributed arrangements for Kenton, including “Mi Burrito” and “Neverbird.” Brown remained with the Kenton Orchestra until November 1972.
Before joining the Kenton Orchestra, Brown had served as arranger and trumpeter with the Studio Band of The United States Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Maryland (1968–71). His tenure with the Army Band and Kenton coincided closely with that of Jay Saunders — trumpet player, and jazz educator, who, while with the Kenton Orchestra, eventually played lead trumpet.
Brown also has performed with Mundell Lowe, Leroy Vinnegar, Ray Brown (jazz double-bassist), Thad Jones, Jimmy Heath, Steve Gadd, and Billy Hart.
Brown conducted the recording session of the Roy Hargrove Quintet entitled Roy Hargrove with Strings, Moment to Moment, released May 2000 on Verve. He has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival frequently as conductor of his wife Susan Cahill Brown’s Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra in collaboration with Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker, Ralph Towner, Gary Burton, and Terence Blanchard.
Brown currently leads his own big band, the Great Big Band, which has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the , the , as well as jazz venues in the San Francisco Bay area.
Ray is currently on the faculty of Cabrillo College in Aptos, California watertight pouch, teaching Jazz improvisation, arranging, and Jazz ensembles.
Ray’s wife, (b. 1949, New York), is a violinist and teacher of strings – violin, viola, chamber music, and orchestra glass sports bottle. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College (1971) and a Master of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College (1974), where she studied with Dorothy DeLay. She also did post grad work at the University of Colorado (1975). Ray and Sue were married Aug 26, 1973, and together, they have three daughters, one of whom, , is a violinist and is married to cellist . Karin earned degrees in music from Oberlin Conservatory of Music (1998) and Juilliard. Daniel is a member of the preparatory faculty at the Peabody Institute.
Ray, born 1946 in Oceanside, New York, grew up in Freeport, New York. He has three older brothers, Glenn Edward Brown (1937–2007), Stephen Charles Brown, Roger V. Brown and a younger sister, Jeanne De Martino.
Glenn, Steve, and Ray all earned music degrees from Ithaca College – Steve: Bachelor of Music (1964) and a Master of Music (1968); Ray: Bachelor of Music (1968). Ray’s nephew (Steve’s son) – – is a jazz bassist, performer, and music educator.
Ray’s father, Glenn Earl Brown (1914–1965; 1936 graduate of Ithaca College School of Music), was the District Music Supervisor of Public Schools for Long Beach, New York. He was also director of bands at Long Beach Jr. Sr. High School from 1938 to 1965. As a pioneer in jazz education at the scholastic level, he introduced stage bands to Long Beach public schools in 1939. He also ran a music camp — Lake Shore Music Score — at Lake Winnipesaukee, Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Glenn Brown had been, for more than 14 years, a marimba soloist with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra.
Ray’s mother, Marie Brown (née Ward) (1916–2002), taught English at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside for 28 years, where, before retiring from the Oceanside School District in 1982, she served as curriculum coordinator and English department chairwoman. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Ithaca College School of Music in 1935, where she played piano, saxophone Runner Waist Pack, and clarinet. She also held a Masters in English from Hofstra University.
Compositions/arrangements for the Stan Kenton Orchestra
Arrangement for the Stan Kenton Orchestra
As a member (jazz trumpet/flugelhorn) of the Stan Kenton Orchestra
Arrangement recorded by the Stan Kenton Orchestra
As a member of the Full Faith & Credit Big Band
As leader of Ray Brown’s Great Big Band
Ithaca College School of Music
14th Annual Gail Rich Awards — Cultural Council Associates (of the Santa Cruz County arts community) (Jan 26, 2010)