American trumpet-star Clifford Brown and pianist Richie Powell were killed in a car crash on wednesday morning of this week (cables Nat Hentoff) [le 26 juin 1956]. This tragic accident took place just outside Bedford, Indiana, while the two musicians were travelling to Chicago, for an engagement with the Clifford Brown-Max Roach group
of which they were both members.
Powell's wife, whom he married only a month ago, was also killed in the crash.
Mikes Butcher writes : the death of Clifford Brown is probably the most lamentable loss to contemporary jazz since Charlier Parker died, last year.
Brownie, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, rose suddenly to fame in 1953 (when he had been playing trumpet only eight years) as a member of the Lionel Hampton Band. He recorded extensively in Europe that year with contingents from Hamp's group (Vogue, Esquire), and quickly became recognised as one of America's most brilliant jazz trumpeters upon his return to the States. He won the "New Star Trumpet" award in the "Down Beat" critics' poll, 1954.
For the past two years, Brownie had been co-leader with Max Roach of the succesful Brown-Roach combo, recording exclusively fo EmArcy in recent months with the unit, and also as guest star on sessions with Sarah Vaughan, Helen Merrill, etc.
Richie Powell, though overshadowed as a pianist by his famous brother, Bud Powell, was an excellent, swinging musician who can be heard to advantage on records with the Brown-Roach unit (Vogue, EmArcy).