John Robert Brown lives in Leeds in West Yorkshire. He is Past Chairman of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain, and is married to Dr Wendy Brown, a retired Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry, now an enthusiastic amateur double-bass player.
John contributes regularly to Classical Music magazine, Jazz Journal, Pianist and Music Teacher, as well as Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine and Winds journal. He wrote the chapter on Jazz Clarinet in the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet, and contributed the pencil drawings to the Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone.
A virtuoso clarinet performance on TV. John Robert Brown playing Weber.
John's How to Play Saxophone (St. Martin's Press, New York) was first published in 1983. His Concise Guide to Musical Terms, published in 2002 by Mel Bay, was named 'Editor's Choice' in Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine. John's book, A Concise History of Jazz, was published by Mel Bay in 2004. His arrangement of The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba was performed by the Fairer Sax in the John Schlesinger film 'Madame Sousatzka' (1988). Other publications include Quintet for Brass (1994, premiered by Fine Arts Brass), La Habana, for euphonium and piano (Warwick Music), Quartet for Saxophones (Warwick Music), and twenty folios of jazz transcriptions for IMP and Warners.
His saxophone pieces Altango and Tangram (both published by Warwick Music) appeared in the 2007 ABRSM Grade VI saxophone examination lists. His recorder studies Calidarium and Breakfast at Betty's (both Warwick Music) are in the ABRSM Treble Recorder examination syllabus for 2008/2009.
Leaving Nuneaton grammar school at sixteen, John qualified as an engineering draughtsman at Courtaulds in Coventry. Simultaneously, he studied the clarinet and saxophone, and eventually worked for a decade as a performing musician. He then took a four-year break to obtain an honours degree in Education at Nottingham University. Briefly he was a schoolmaster, teaching music and maths. Then, from 1975, he taught full-time as a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader at Leeds College of Music, under Dick Hawdon.
The jazz course at Leeds was the first of its kind in Europe. Well-known staff colleagues at Leeds included guitarist Eric Kershaw, arrangers Tony Faulkner, Bob Hartley and Bill Charleson, and pianists Bill Kinghorn and Bryan Layton. Classical musicians at LCM at this time included Charles Bodman Rae and classical guitarist Graham Wade.
During this period John established an annual international Jazz Education Conference at Leeds. The early Conferences featured many contemporary Americans, including Rob McConnell, Paul Berliner, Randy Brecker, Hal Galper, Mark Levine, Dan Morgenstern, Daryl Sherman and Loren Schoenberg. John also served as a judge on various TV jazz competitions, alongside Marion Montgomery, Dave O‘Higgins and Bob Wilber. He was also a founder member of the Jazz Development Trust, with Sir John Dankworth and Digby Fairweather.
For the final decade of his work in higher education John acted as a student recruitment consultant, first for Leeds College of Music and later for Birmingham Conservatoire. In this capacity he travelled worldwide.