Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

Oscar Brown Jr.

As a performer, he acted his songs more than he sang them; as a songwriter, hedrew as much from gospel, the blues and folk music as he did from jazz. He preferred to call himself an entertainer, although even that broad term didnotgo far enough: he saw his art as a way to celebrate African-American life andattack racism, and it was not always easy to tell where the entertainer ended and the activist began.

His song “Brown Baby,” recorded by Mahalia Jackson and others, was both a lullaby for his infant son and an anthem of racial pride. Other songs, like “Signifying Monkey” and “The Snake,” took their story lines from black folklore. The album, “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite,” for which Mr. Brown wrote lyrics to the drummer Max Roach's music, was one of the first jazz works to address the civil rights movement. His commitment to art as a tool for social change was most evident in the numerous stage shows he wrote and directed in his hometown Chicago.

Read more
CD/LP/Track Review
Wide Open Jazz and Beyond
Read more articles

7 Photos

Albums

Videos

Similar

Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie
trumpet
Sarah Vaughan Sarah Vaughan
vocalist
Cassandra Wilson Cassandra Wilson
vocalist
Nina Simone Nina Simone
piano
Abbey Lincoln Abbey Lincoln
vocalist
Dinah Washington Dinah Washington
vocalist
Gil Scott-Heron Gil Scott-Heron
vocalist
Hugh Masekela Hugh Masekela
flugelhorn
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone
Jimmy McGriff Jimmy McGriff
organ, Hammond B3
Ramsey Lewis Ramsey Lewis
piano

All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.