Skip to Content

Bio

John Brown

Bassist, composer, educator and actor John Brown is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and currently resides in Durham, NC. He is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John currently serves as Director of the Jazz Program and Associate Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University, and he has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University and Guilford College (NC).He has been performing professionally since his teens and has performed in the United States & abroad with artists like Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Nnenna Freelon, Cyrus Chestnut, Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Nell Carter, Lou Donaldson, Slide Hampton, Nicholas Payton, Frank Foster, Larry Coryell, Cedar Walton, Fred Wesley, Bernard Purdie and Mark Whitfield, as well as giving regular performances as a substitute with the North Carolina Symphony since 1992.

John Brown with North Carolina Symphony, Itzhak Perlman, Grant Llewellyn

John performing with the North Carolina Symphony sharing a stand with one of his former teachers, Craig Brown. Itzhak Perlman, soloist and Grant Llewellyn conducting

John Brown with Wynton Marsalis

John performing at a jam session with Wynton Marsalis

John also has a Grammy nomination for his performance and co-writing on Nnenna Freelon’s 1996 Concord release, Shaking Free, and recently earned his membership the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) for his role in the feature film, Bolden. His extensive experience includes performances at notable venues like Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Blue Note, Blues Alley, and the Hollywood bowl and at major jazz festivals like the Playboy Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Free Jazz Festival (Brazil) and Jazz e Vienne (France). He actively performs and records internationally as a sideman & a leader, and gives education residencies across the nation including conducting District, Regional and All-State Jazz Ensembles. He founded the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble and led that group for several years, and now leads a group of high school students who are serious about studying and performing jazz music called the JAZZFORCE. John is also part owner of the Hudson Brown Agency (a full-service international booking agency), and he has recently become a YAMAHA Certified String Educator. For more background, read John’s full bio.

Greg Tardy, Elvin Jones, John Brown and Willie Pickens

Elvin Jones Jazz Machine - Greg Tardy, Elvin Jones, John Brown & Willie Pickens. Photo taken by Delfeayo Marsalis.

John Brown and Reno Wilson on the set of Bolden

John and Reno Wilson take a break on the set of the feature film Bolden.

Read more…