Patti Bown


Initially trained as a classical pianist, Bown was an original stylist whose family disapproed of her visceral attraction to the Jackson Street and East Madison Street jazz clubs, but she found her way to the bandstand, nevertheless, taking pointers from Ray Charles and working as a teen at the Washington Social Club. Bown moved to New York City in 1955, where she became an in-demand studio player and recorded her own album for Columbia, “Patti Bown Plays Big Piano.” In 1959, she was recruited by Quincy Jones to play in the big band he took to Europe. Her compositions were recorded by Sarah Vaughan, Benny Golson and Duke Ellingtonand she recorded with Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Between 1962-1964 she served as the musical director for the bands accompanying Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. In the 1970s, Bown worked as a pianist in orchestras on Broadway and composed for film and television. She enjoyed a robust career leading a trio, as well, sometimes at the Village Gate.

Jackson Street After Hours (print).