The recording career of Clifford Brown falls neatly into two major sections, each identified with a specific label. Between June 1953, when he cut his first jazz sessions, and his live Birdland recordings with Art Blakey in February 1954, Brown did the bulk of his American recording for Blue Note, which was also the first label to lease the majority of titles the trumpeter recorded in Europe for U.S. release. From August 1954 until Brown’s death in an automobie accident on June 26, 1956, he was under contract to EmArcy, the jazz wing of Mercury Records. ln between these affiliations, a West Coast interlude found Brown recording for a pair of independent Los Angeles labels.
Brown had traveled to California in March 1954 at the invitation of Max Roach, who was house drummer at the Lighthouse at the time. When record producer Gene Norman encouraged Roach to form his own band, the drummer enlisted Brown, who he had met in Philadelphia five years earlier and been impressed with more recently on J.J. Johnson’ s first Blue Note session ; Brown and Roach shared an apartment in LA that Spring, and set about organizing what would become the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet. An early edition of that band made a live concert recording for Norman’s GNP/Crescendo label in May. By August, when the band and its leaders were signed by EmArcy, it included tenor saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Richie Powell and bassist George Morrow.
The new quintet was not all that occupied Brown during these months. He met and married LaRue Anderson, a USC student and an alumna of the illustrious Jefferson High School music program that produced Hampton Hawes and Don Cherry. When not working with Roach or spending time with LaRue, Brown was focused on writing. Not known as a particularly prodigious composer prior to this point, several friends describe the trumpeter as immersed in writing during these early months on the West Coast. Brown’s desire to document such new pieces as the now-classic “Daahoud” and “Joy Spring” may have been responsible in part for his accepting producer Richard Bock’s offer to record a septet session on Bock’s Pacific Jazz label.
Bob Blumenthal, 2001, from the bookletClifford Brown
1 Daahoud (Brown) 4:13
2 Finders Keepers (Montrose) 3:52
3 Joy Spring (Brown) 3:16
4 Gone With the Wind (Magidson, Wrubel) 3:40
5 Bones for Jones (Brown) 4:15
6 Blueberry Hill (Lewis, Rose, Stock) 3:16
7 Tiny Capers (Brown) 4:16
8 Tiny Capers [alt. take] (Brown) 2:59
9 Gone With the Wind [alt. take] (Magidson, Wrubel) 2:58Personnel
Clifford Brown - tp
Stu Williamson - tb
Zoot Sims - ts
Bob Gordon - bs
Russ Freeman - p
Joe Mondragon - b [# 1-3]
Carson Smith - b [# 4-9]
Shelly Manne - dr
Jack Montrose - arr.
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles ; July 12 [# 1-3] & August 12, 1954 [# 4-9]