For close to 30 years guitarist/composer/arranger/educator Dean Brown has been an integral part of the global fusion and contemporary jazz scene. Those who have seen and heard Dean Brown perform are immediately struck by the passion and energy he puts into each note. His compositions are thoughtful and intense, yet lyrical vehicles for individual as well as group expression. Dean has recorded and/or toured around the world with his own projects and legendary artists such as: Marcus Miller, The Brecker Brothers, Billy Cobham, David Sanborn, Bob James, George Duke, Roberta Flack, Joe Zawinul, Lenny White, Kirk Whalum, and Steve Smith’s Vital Information.
Brown has original compositions and arrangements featured on albums for Les McCann, Dennis Chambers, Ricky Peterson, Steve Smith’s Vital Information, and Billy Cobham, among others.
Brown’s soulful, dynamic and creative guitar work can be heard on well over 200 recordings, numerous GRAMMY® nominations and four GRAMMY® Award winners. Records such as The Brecker Brothers ” Return of the Brecker Brothers” and “Out Of The Loop”, Marcus Millers “The Sun Don’t Lie”, Billy Cobhams “Warning”, and Joe Zawinuls “Faces and Places” are just a few out of the long list. His performances include Live DVD’s with Marcus Miller, Billy Cobham, Gil Evans, David Sanborn and Friends, Louie Belson, Bob James, and Steve Smith’s Vital Information.
Dean has released four critically acclaimed solo CD’s worldwide. The first, titled “Here” (2001), is his all-star debut CD featuring jazz greats Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Christian McBride, Don Alias, Bill Evans, Bernard Wright and many others.
His second record “Groove Warrior”(2004), features another all-star lineup with Lalah Hathaway, Marcus Miller, Bernard Wright, JuJu House, Poogie Bell, Schuyler Deale, Booker King, and Patches Stewart, just to name a few.
His third CD “DBIII-Live at the Cotton Club Tokyo”(2009) features an all-star power trio with musical greats Dennis Chambers and Will Lee.
And his fourth CD “Unfinished Business” featuring yet another all-star cast of musicians with Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Kirk Whalum, Dennis Chambers, Jimmy Earl, Gerry Etkins and Hadrien Feraud among others.
As an educator Dean has also released an instructional/live DVD with publishing giant Hal Leonard for Musicians Institute titled “Modern Techniques for the Electric Guitarist”(2008) and has had several articles in Guitar Player and Guitar World magazines.
Dean Brown and Runfly Studios have developed and released an iPhone/iPad app called “Pickup Tunes”. “The idea was to base a game on the ear training techniques that I use in teaching. We developed it to look and feel more like a game than an academic exercise.”
Dean conducts clinics all over the world and teaches several classes of his own curriculum at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.
Currently, Brown continues to record, teach, tour and sell out venues with his own groups worldwide. He has recently released his much anticipated fourth solo CD, Unfinished Business, Brown’s most ambitious release to date.
“…He delivers music with punch, energy and integrity.”
~ Guitar Nine Records
“…Rockish, bluesy, jazzy, funky all rolled up into one.”
“…About twenty years have gone by and Dean’s still bringing it onstage – he’s that into it and obviously, that committed to every measure of the music”
The son of a military man from the Bronx and a jazz singer from North Carolina, Dean Brown grew up in a number of locales during his formative years. Born in France, his family moved to the States when he was two then returned to France when he turned 10. Two years later, his family returned to the States once again. It was the summer of love and something new and decidedly different was in the air that would greatly affect Deans path. As he explains, “Being a child of the 60′s, I was naturally attracted to the so-called hippie scene and the music that surrounded it. I mean, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Are You Experienced? are the reasons that I play music today. At least those were the reasons I decided I was going to start playing guitar.”
Dean would later spend three years in Korea, where he began working professionally at the age of 15 as a singer/guitarist fronting a horn band, garnering a huge following in the process. “I was like a pop star with body guards, a fan club, and everything”, Brown recalls with a laugh. “It was wild.” After attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Brown entered the Berklee College of Music graduating as a composition major. His classmates there included fellow guitarists Mike Stern, Bill Frisell, Kevin Eubanks, and Jamie Glaser. One of Dean’s first gigs in Boston was in trumpeter Tiger Okoshi’s band Baku. As he recalls, “I replaced Mike Stern in that band in 1979 when Mike left to play with Billy Cobham.”
Brown joined Cobham’s Glass Menagerie band in 1981 and that year recorded Observations + (Elektra/Musician) with the great fusion drummer, marking his first time in the recording studio. In 1982, he played with Glass Menagerie at the Montreux International Jazz Festival. A document of that live gig later appeared the following year as Smokin’ (Elektra/Musician). Brown also performed on Cobhams 1985 debut for GRP Records, Warning! Dean was also one of the original members of Vital Information, the ground breaking group led by the drummer icon, Steve Smith. .. Through the 80s and into the 90s, Brown alternated constant touring and recording with sax star David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Bob James, Kirk Whalum, and the re-united Brecker Brothers.
“At one point in the early 90s, it was an amazing juggling act between working with Mike and Randy, Dave and also Marcus’ band,” he recalls. “It was like non-stop airports. Of course, it was great to be so busy, but it also created this incredible log jam of events.”
In recent years, Brown has released three solo CD’s, toured and recorded with saxophonist Bill Evans, singer Roberta Flack, keyboardist George Duke, bassist Victor Bailey, and his old mentor Billy Cobham. He was a regular band member for 14 years with Marcus Miller’s band and tours with his own groups. Says Dean, ” I’m concentrating more on my own projects now, but I still love playing with all these great musicians as well.