Leonard Brown, PhD

Associate Professor Emeritus, Ethnomusicology, African American Music History, and Jazz Studies

Leonard Brown is a professional musician (saxophonist, composer, and arranger), teacher, ethnomusicologist and specialist in multicultural education. During his almost four decades as a performing musician, he has appeared with many outstanding artists including Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, George Russell, Bill Barron, Yusef Lateef, Alan Dawson, and Ed Blackwell. He has performed nationally and internationally and is co-founder and producer of Boston’s annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert (www.jcmc.neu.edu). Established in 1977, this annual performance tribute to Coltrane’s musical and spiritual legacy is the oldest event of its kind in the world.

Brown is an associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston with a joint appointment in the Music and African American Studies Departments. He is co-director of the Afro-Caribbean Music Research Project and has served as chair of African American Studies and head advisor for Music.  From 2000 to 2003, he served as vice-provost for academic opportunity. Along with his academic and scholarly initiatives and endeavors, from 1996 to 2002, Brown served as senior ethnomusicologist and principal cultural historian to the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, MO, the first national jazz museum in the nation.

Brown has received postdoctoral fellowship support from the Ford Foundation and is currently involved in researching African retentions in 21st century Afro-Caribbean cultures.  In 1992, he received a Distinguished Scholar award from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and served as Black Scholar-In-Residence at Fairfield University in CT. In 1994, Brown was an invited member of a research team composed of African American scholars and musicians that visited Cuba for educational presentations on cultural and social transformation and music concerts featuring African American spirituals. In 1998, Brown received a Distinguished Scholar Award from the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute at Northeastern University.  In January of 2010, Brown was named Musician of the Year by JazzBoston.

Brown is principal contributor to the book Kansas City…And All That’s Jazz (1999), a history of the Kansas City jazz legacy published by Andrews McMeel and his newest publication is John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music, released in August 2010 by Oxford University Press.

He is a member of the Center for Black Music Research, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society of American Music.

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