Clifford Brown Jr.
Profile of the Son of Legendary Trumpeter Clifford Brown
For Jazz 91's Clifford Brown, Jr., music has always been the essential thing. Raised in an atmosphere of legendary jazz heroes, innovators and musical geniuses, he has longed been imbued with the music and principles that reflect his life's work. A look back on his childhood confirms the definitive influences: his father was hugely influential trumpeter Clifford Brown and regular houseguests included trumpeter Donald Byrd and the innovative Herbie Hancock. These formidable years would be the impetus for his prolific career in jazz and radio broadcasting.
Clifford's professional broadcasting career began auspiciously here in the Bay Area in the mid-70s at Berkeley free-form radio station KRE, where he worked as an on air personality. He continued to hone his skills at San Francisco's KBLX, where he was instrumental in creating "The Quiet Storm," a versatile format designed to make jazz music accessible to non-jazz listeners. He also procured solid experience at KSOL FM, KDIA AM and several radio stations across the country before starting regular shifts at KCSM.
His work in broadcasting has garnered a handful of professional accolades. Some of these honors include the illustrious Golden Mic Award for the San Francisco Bay Area's Top Radio Personality and the Ampex Award of Excellence for Jazz Programmer of the Year (while at KCSM).
While pleased to be recognized, Clifford still finds the music and the people it reaches to be the most rewarding aspect of his job. "I wanted to be able to play music that would influence people, that would help make their lives easier if they're having a bad day. And to disseminate information that might make a difference in their lives."
Two people Clifford has had the great pleasure of reaching are comedian Bill Cosby who called during one of Clifford's shows and writer Maya Angelou who called during a recent KCSM pledge drive. "Those two moments really stand out for me in my mind."
With a devoted jazz listenership and surprise celebrity greetings, it's not surprising that Clifford feels at home with KCSM. "This is one of the most fun things that I get to do. I just love it here. The listeners are amazing. This audience is one of the most knowledgeable I've ever seen, the most passionate about the music. The feedback they give you, the stories that they share about things that were happening when a song was made--that relationship is something truly special.
Outside KCSM, Clifford commits his time to BROWN RADIO--a programming and content provider for broadcast and internet radio, specializing in R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Smooth Jazz formats; youth jazz outreach through the Clifford Brown Jazz Foundation (founded by his mother); and his family.
Clifford Brown Jr. hosts The American Jazz Countdown Sunday at noon.