LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ray Brown, a legendary jazz bassist who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and his one-time wife Ella Fitzgerald in a career that spanned a half century, died in his sleep Tuesday in Indianapolis. He was 75.
Brown was in Indianapolis for an engagement at the Jazz Kitchen at the time of his death.
Brown, whose fluid sound helped define the bebop era, started his career in the 1940s and performed during jazz's Golden Age with Gillespie, Parker and Bud Powell.
He was a founder of bebop and appeared with Gillespie in the 1946 film "Jivin' in Be-Bop." Brown later became musical director and husband of singer Ella Fitzgerald, whom he later divorced.
Ray Matthews Brown was born in Pittsburgh in 1926 and moved in 1945 to New York, where he was immediately involved in the emerging bebop revolution. While playing in Gillespie's Big Band in 1946 and 1947, he became Fitzgerald's music director -- and, in the late 1940s, her husband. He continued to work with her even after their divorce.
Brown played with an early edition of what became the Modern Jazz Quartet, recording with the Milt Jackson Quartet in 1951. He subsequently was a founding member of the Oscar Peterson's Trio, which ranked among jazz's most popular groups of the '50s and '60s.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.