Jazz Friday: Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring

I was working in the garden a few days ago listening to Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring which seems appropriate for this time of year. Clifford Brown isn’t as well known as some of the other jazz legends of the bebop era because he died so young. “Brownie” had a great sound and was an accomplished composer. Joy Spring is one of my favorite jazz tunes.

In 1955, Clifford Brown and Max Roach combined for this album, considered one of the iconic albums of the hard bop movement. The band included Clifford, co-leader and drummer Max Roach, Harold Land on tenor sax, Richie Powell (the younger brother of Bud Powell) and bassist George Morrow. If you are just going to buy one track, get Joy Spring, but you can get the entire album for $6.

Clifford was a straight-living trumpeter during a period when so many jazz players were heroin addicts. Unfortunately he died at just 25 years old in a car accident. Tragic. (Wikipedia) For years afterward, jazz musicians paid tribute to Clifford Brown including Benny Golson’s I Remember Clifford which, coincidentally, is not one of my favorite jazz tunes.

Here are both Max Roach and Clifford Brown looking much cooler than I could ever look.

Here are both Max Roach and Clifford Brown looking much cooler than I could ever look.