Clifford Brown

Birth Name:
Clifford Benjamin Brown
Birth Date:
October 30, 1930
Birth Place:
Wilmington, Delaware
Death Date:
June 26, 1956
Place of Death:
Pennsylvania Turnpike, Bedford, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death:
Automobile accident
Cemetery Name:
Mt. Zion Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Clifford Brown was only 25 when he died in a car accident in 1956, yet the rich body of work he left behind sealed his reputation as one of the greatest trumpet players who ever lived. Quincy Jones even described Brown as one of the most important musicians of all time. “I believe that a hundred years from now, when people look back at the 20th century, they will look at Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie as our Mozarts, our Chopins, our Bachs, and Beethovens.” Clifford Brown was gifted with a fat warm tone, a bop-ish style quite reminiscent of the equally ill-fated Fats Navarro, and a mature improvising approach; he was as inventive on melodic ballads as he was on rapid jams. In June 1956, Brown and Richie Powell embarked on a drive to Chicago for their next appearance. Powell's wife Nancy was at the wheel so that Clifford and Richie could sleep. While driving at night in the rain on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, west of Bedford, she is presumed to have lost control of the car, which went off the road, killing all three in the resulting crash. After his death his compositions "Sandu", "Joy Spring", and "Daahoud" have become jazz standards. Brown won the DownBeat magazine Critics' Poll for New Star of the Year in 1954; he was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1972.

Fun Fact

Amazingly enough, a filmed appearance of him playing two songs in 1955 on a Soupy Sales variety show turned up after being lost for 40 years. This is the only known footage of the great trumpeter.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Mt. Zion Cemetery

3401 Lancaster Pike

Wilmington, Delaware, 19805


North America

Grave Location:

Brown Family Plot

Grave Location Description

If the gates are open, take the first entrance with the maintenance shed on your right at the entrance. If the gates are locked, as you are facing the cemetery go to the far left boundary and walk through the large gap in the fence. As you walk to the maintenance shed Clifford Brown is buried right next to the shed along the fence line approximately 40 feet from the paved road.

Grave Location GPS

39.75368695354252, -75.59086960135126



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