The swinging piano sound of Ms. Cleo Brown
October 7, 2017 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Lookie Lookie Lookie, here comes Cleo Brown, an accomplished stride/boogie woogie pianist, singer and composer active during the late 1920s to the 1950s. The Stuff Is Here and it swings: Brown recorded mainly for Decca and Capitol Records with the backing of such notable cats as Gene Krupa. She was a contemporary of Fats Waller, replacing him on WABC New York in 1935. (Think Your Feet's Too Big? Nope, you're just Breakin' In A Pair of Shoes.)

When Hollywood Goes Black And Tan
Me And My Wonderful One
Cook That Stuff
You're My Fever
Mama Don't Want No Peas An' Rice An' Cocoanut Oil
Pelican Stomp
You're A Heavenly Thing
Cleo's Boogie
Never Too Tired For Love
I'll Take The South
Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

As her religious beliefs strengthened, so did her discomfort with the more risqué songs she performed, and in 1953 she retired from music to become a nurse. Dave Brubeck, who credited Brown as an influence, recorded Sweet Cleo Brown in 1958 as a tribute.

In 1987, Marian McPartland persuaded Cleo Brown to appear on her radio show Piano Jazz, which resulted in one final album, Living in the Afterglow:
Track 1 - I'm A Little Old Woman
Track 4 - Down By The Riverside
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (3 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
It was nice to hear that. I hope she won't slip out of modern consciousness.
posted by maurreen at 5:45 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

In 1987, Marian McPartland persuaded Cleo Brown to appear on her radio show Piano Jazz,

gosh I miss Marian...

Great post, fell down a rabbit hole listening to Cleo's music, along with a lot of Paul Whitman etal.
Thank you!
posted by james33 at 4:50 AM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Orange Dinosaur Slide, for introducing me to the work of Cleo Brown. Quite the find!
posted by On the Corner at 4:12 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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