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Cleo Brown

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Primary Instrument: Piano

Born: December 8, 1909 | Died: April 15, 1995    

Cleo Brown - pianist, vocalist (1909 - 1995)

Cleo Brown bears the distinction of being the first woman instrumentalist honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. Her family moved to Chicago in 1919 and four years later, at age 14, she started working professionally with a vaudeville show. Her brother Everett, who worked with “Pine Top” Smith, taught her the boogie woogie piano style that became her trademark.

Brown performed in the Chicago area during the late 1920s. In 1935, she replaced Fats Waller on his New York radio series on WABC, and soon began recording. Her version of “Pine Top's Boogie Woogie” was influential on pianists that came after her, and she is credited with being an early influence on Dave Brubeck, who played during the intermissions of her shows, and Marian McPartland, among others. Through the 1950s she worked frequently at that city's Three Deuces club, establishing a reputation as a two-fisted, driving pianist. Brown began to gain international renown for her work, and she continued to perform regularly in New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco until 1953, making records for Capitol Records and performing with the Decca All-Stars, among others....
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  • Here Comes Cleo

    CBS
    2001
  • Boogie Woogie

    CBS
    1988
  • Latch On / Slow Poke

    CBS
    1936
  • When / When Hollywood Goes Black And Tan

    CBS
    1935
  • Mama Don't Want No Peas An' Rice An' Cocoanut Oil / Never Too Tired For...

    CBS
    1935
  • (Lookie Lookie Lookie) Here Comes Cookie / (You Take The East-Take The...

    CBS
    1935
  • Me And My Wonderful One / Give A Broken Heart A Break

    CBS
    0

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