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Biography

Renowned artist Vernell Brown Jr., Virtuoso pianist, multifaceted innovative composer, and producer finds himself in a most enviable position primarily as the result of an insatiable musical intelligence and unflagging energy, as demonstrated in his two new recordings released in 2010, "Do You Really Love Me" and "13 Letters".  One of Vernells works in progress is a "Theory of Improvisation and Composition Book", is an ingenius contribution to the world of music, for generations to come.

 


Vernell Brown, Jr.  is a  gifted pianist and composer born with a talent that is spiritually given to geniuses of his kind.  Born on August 13, 1971 in Los Angeles,  California, Vernells Gift of Music was noticed at the early age of Two and a half.  When he was observed with the ability to keep strict rhythm with music of various meters,  he began studying the drum set with noted drummer and percussionist, Mr. Earl Hyde.

Vernell's attention span far exceeded a child of his age.  At the age of four, Vernell performed his first drum set recital under the tutelage of instructor Earl Hyde.  He continued studying the drum set with various professional drummers and percussionist.

To the amazement of his elementary school's music instructor, the genius of Vernell's ability continued to escalate to melodic instruments.  His first elementary school's music instructor Mr. John Carter stated, " I think Vernell is a born Violinist".  Vernell was enrolled at 32nd Street USC Music Magnet School in Los Angeles.  He continued studying the violin and playing with the school's orchestra and jazz band.  Vernell was the drummer for the jazz band and soon became the first chair violinist and concert master.

"The piano was always in the house and every day I'd tickle the keys a little bit," said Brown, " But I was really into the drums.  Then when I was in the eighth grade, I heard someone playing G blues on the piano.  I was just fascinated with that, I was hooked."

His mother and Business Manager Carlita Brown,  herself a singer and lyricist said her son was always fascinated by music and demonstrated an innate interest in the piano, perhaps as some response to the piano lessons she was taking while pregnant with him.

His father Vernell Brown, Sr.  a guitarist, songwriter and composer who also plays piano, allowed Vernell to grow up accompanied by a constant sound track of Jazz, Classical, Motown and other musical styles.  "None of these things would have  happened says Brown, if I hadn't learned from my mom and dad, that music is a real life commitment.  They taught me to be open and listen to everything."  At the age of nine, Brown began singing with his younger sister Maisha in the singing duo, " Brown Ink".

During the late 1980s Vernell attended the Los Angeles County High School For The Arts on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, and Hamilton Academy of music.  He was committed to the Piano, allowing him to combine both the percussive and melodic elements of his earlier instruments which further broadened his scope in music and composition.  He began studying Jazz and Classical music, concentrating on the piano under the private tutelage of Terry Trotter and Charlie Shoemake, Classical Pianist Lilah Nizam and Dr. William Teaford.  Brown also took special classes at California State University Los Angeles.

Between 1987 and 1990, Vernell used the piano to win a long list of awards and scholarships.  Awards started coming in a rush, A Leonard Feather Piano Scholarship; a Music Fest Award; a Yamaha Music Corp.  Award and a scholarship to the prestigious Berkeley School of Music Awards; First place winner in both the combo and outstanding Soloist Categories at Fullerton College's 17th Annual Jazz Festival; Finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition; First Prize winner of 1989 1RST Bar Composers and Songwriters Competition.  The list could go on and on.

Brown's remarkable saga continued when Jerry Moss, President and CEO of A&M Records, heard him play at a Grammy in the Schools Program presented by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.  The young musician's appearance was accidental and unplanned.  Brown later stated about this experience, " I had the opportunity to sit in-on 'My Funny Valentine'  and accompany French Hornist Richard Todd, when the regular piano player didn't show up."   Moss recalled he was so impressed with Brown's playing at the venue that he went on to offer him an A&M recording contract.

Jazz pianist Vernell Brown, Jr.  was only 18 when he recorded, "A Total Eclipse," His 1990 debut album.  There he was, playing alongside such illustrious veterans as saxophonist Ernie Watts,  bassist Marcus Miller, John Pattitucci, Neil Stubenhause, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., Pat Kelley, drummer Stix Hooper, Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Lenny Castro, and trumpeter and A&M Records Co-Founder Herb Alpert.

This was some heavy company for any young musician.  The record was designed to introduce listeners to Brown's signature playing style and his already broad range of musical interest.  Producer  Stix Hooper, a founding member of The Jazz Crusaders, provided the appropriately diverse backdrop for the project flavored with stylings of his signature  Soul, Pop, and Blues background.  Stix Hooper states, "This debut album of Vernell Brown Jr., is an artistic contribution to our planet of significant musical depth, vision and direction.  Vernell at the young age of eighteen, has been given from the Supreme Source, the talent,wisdom, and  creative skills necessary to communicate to us, music we can incorporate into our lives".

In 1992 "Stay Tuned" was released.  Brown chose a more aggressive route, playing with his own band "The Nucleus", rather than another All-Star Cast.  Two tracks, "Whoever You Are" and "Everybody Needs A Friend" Features a vocal collaboration with Lyricist Will Jennings.

Vernon Jarrett of the Chicago Sun Times wrote of Vernell " His followers say he's forever in the process of composing a great new Jazz that celebrates his ancestors triumphant past and the hopes of his generation.  When Brown composes, arranges and plays out his innermost feelings, his listeners are inspired to live and change the world in which they live in not just despise it".

Vernell's career has carried him from his birthplace in Los Angeles, California throughout The United States, Europe and Asia.   From amphitheaters and festivals,  to solo recorded appearances " A Total Eclipse", and "Stay Tuned", with live solo and Television appearances, to milestone performances and collaborations with the worlds most illustrious veterans Benny Carter, Marcus Miller, Ernie Andrews, Will Jennings, Stix Hooper, Herb Alpert and more...

Vernell is currently leading his own band with a tour in the works.  His music will soon be unleashed on a new generation of Jazz fans worldwide.

In the past few years, Vernell has recorded and toured extensively with Kenny Garrett, Jeffrey Osborne, Ronnie Laws, and Gladys Knight.  Recorded " Standard of Language" and "Happy People" with Kenny Garrett " A Tribute to Eddie Harris", and "Natural Laws", "Ronnie Laws Live in Concert", "Just For You" with Gladys Knight, Including a two year perfomance and show with Gladys Knight at the prestigious Flamingo Hilton Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.  Rated the number one show on the strip for a four year period.

To purchase Vernell's music: CLICK HERE
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Vernell Brown Jr