Jeffrey C. Brown
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music
Jeffrey C. Brown is the instructor of percussion and coordinator of jazz studies at Valparaiso University. He studied on the undergraduate level at DePaul University and the American Conservatory of Music, and he received a master of music from Valparaiso University with postgraduate work at the Eastman School of Music. He studied percussion with the legendary Roy C. Knapp for three years. His other instructors in percussion and jazz have included: Bob Tilles, Harvey Lang, Rayburn Wright, Keith Copeland, James Dutton, Mike Green, Jack Mouse, Allen Otte, Jamey Aebersold, David Baker, Ed Soph, Adam Nussbaum, and Ramon Ricker. At Valparaiso University, Professor Brown is the director of the Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Jazz Combos. He teaches percussion, music industry courses, and music in general studies. As jazz studies coordinator, he has co-produced the Valparaiso University Union Jazz Festival for the past 25 years. This six-day festival has grown to be the largest noncompetitive jazz festival in the Midwest. As a professional musician, he has played drum set and/or percussion for Bob Hope, Engelbert Humperdinck, Carol Lawrence, Robert Goulet, Shields and Yarnell, and Aretha Franklin along with other Las Vegas-style shows. He is a former staff musician for Disneyworld and Nashville/WSM Radio – Television Productions. Brown continues to play both drum set and percussion for some of Chicagoland’s leading musicians and contractors. He was a clinician for the Pearl Drum Company for three years as well as a faculty member of the highly acclaimed Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps. Professor Brown has been an instructor of jazz studies and percussion at New Trier High School, Triton College, and Thornton Community College and has participated as a guest clinician/artist at jazz festivals throughout the Midwest. He has accepted several Indiana Arts Commission and National Endowment of the Arts Artist-in-Education residencies as well as National Endowment for the Humanities Jazz History Grants and Illinois Arts Counsel Performance Grants. He is a past member of the Indiana Arts Commission Advisory Panel. Since 1992, his award-winning “Brown’s Music Bus” has been presenting contemporary American music concerts throughout the states of Indiana, Illinois and Michigan to thousands of school age children, K–12.
Along with fellow faculty members Billy Foster (piano) and Bruce Evans (bass), Brown was founding member of the Valparaiso University Faculty Jazz Trio in 1979. The trio is one of the longest-affiliated jazz college chamber ensembles in the world and has recorded and/or performed with many leading jazz musicians. A few would include: James Moody, Art Farmer, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Randy Breaker, Frank Foster, Houston Person & Etta Jones, Bunky Green, Tom Harrell, Bobby Shew, Jon Faddis, Ernie Watts, Red Rodney, Henry Johnson, Clark Terry, Chris Vadala, Lew Tabackin, Richie Cole, George Coleman, Sonny Fortune, Eddie Henderson, Claire Daly, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, Jerry Bergonzi, Jim Rotondi, Eric Alexander, Billy Pierce, and many Chicagoland jazz favorites.
In the summer of 1999, the trio recorded their debut CD, entitled “For the Moment.” It features nine original compositions and three standards. The CD was produced by world-renowned guitarist/producer Henry Johnson and also featured the trumpet of Dr. Odies Williams and saxophone of Brian Sjoerdinga. The CD received an excellent review in the December, 1999 issue of JazzTimes.
In the spring of 2010, the trio released their second CD, entitled “Journey.” It features eleven original compositions by Foster, Evans, and Brown. The CD was again produced by Henry Johnson and also featured the trumpet of Odies Williams and saxophone of Scott Burnes. The CD received an excellent review in the October 2010/2011 JazzTimes Education Guide.