Lenny McBrowne

Leonard Louis "Lenny" McBrowne (born January 24, 1933) is an American jazz drummer. He was a prolific hard bop drummer with a recording career that started in the 1950s and ended in the mid 1970s. As a bandleader he fronted Lenny McBrowne and the Four Souls, which released two albums in 1960. A disciple of Max Roach, McBrowne was often compared to Chico Hamilton due to the "suavely exotic tendencies of his solo work".[1] Among McBrowne's own disciples is avant-garde drummer Andrew Cyrille.[2]

Lenny McBrowne
Birth nameLeonard Louis McBrowne
Born (1933-01-24) January 24, 1933 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
GenresJazz, hard bop, soul jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years activec. 1953-1976
LabelsPacific Jazz, Riverside
Associated actsPaul Bley, Tonny Scott, Sonny Stitt, Randy Weston, Sonny Criss, Booker Ervin, Kenny Burrell

Life and careerEdit

Leonard Louis McBrowne was born in Brooklyn, New York City, on January 24, 1933.[3][4][5] Influenced by his father Arnold, who was a drummer,[3] Lenny took up drums at a young age, playing in street marching bands between ages 12 and 15, while also taking lessons on the bass.[3][4] Having finished high school in 1951, he studied under Max Roach (for one year) and Sticks Evans.[4][5][6]

McBrowne began his professional career in Pete Brown's group, which featured Paul Bley.[4] He also played with Randy Weston and Cecil Payne in various Brooklyn clubs, and with Paul Bley's Trio in Montreal, Quebec.[5] In 1956 he played with Tony Scott in New York, and continued performing with Paul Bley in a college tour that led to his relocation to California.[4][5] His first West Coast dates included the likes of Billie Holiday, Sonny Stitt, Harold Land, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Fred Katz and Sonny Rollins.[4] In 1959, McBrowne formed his own group, The Four Souls, with pianist Terry Trotter, bassist Herbie Lewis, tenor saxophonist and composer Daniel Jackson, and trumpeter Donald Sleet. Between January and March 1960, the band recorded their debut album Lenny McBrowne and the 4 Souls, released by Pacific Jazz Records.[4] Shortly after they relocated to New York, where they recorded their second and final album Eastern Lights on October 13, 1960, with Jimmy Bond on bass and Cannonball Adderley as producer and supervisor.[7] Notably, McBrowne introduced bassist Charlie Haden to Ornette Coleman,[8] having previously introduced him to Paul Bley.[9] Two pieces from Eastern Lights were released as a single by Riverside.[10]

McBrowne and his band received coverage from the leading jazz magazines, including High Fidelity, Billboard, Metronome and Stereo Review.[1][11][12] The group was described as "a highly close-knit and well-rehearsed combo" with "fluid and competent soloing".[11] After the dissolution of the band, McBrowne free-lanced with Sal Salvador, Chris Connor and Carmen McRae.[3]

In the 1960s, he played with Sarah Vaughan, Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan, Randy Weston, Booker Ervin, Ray Bryant, Teddy Wilson, and he toured Japan with Thelonious Monk.[6] In the second half of the 1960s, McBrowne played primarily with Ervin's band.[6] He then relocated to San Francisco and began to perform with Kenny Burrell on a regular basis until 1976, when he made his last recording.


As leaderEdit

  • 1960 : Lenny McBrowne and the 4 Souls (Pacific Jazz)
  • 1960 : Eastern Lights (Riverside)

As sidemanEdit

With Billie Holiday

With Tony Scott

  • The Touch of Tony Scott (RCA Victor, 1956)

With Paul Bley

With Fred Katz

With Sonny Stitt

With Randy Weston

With Sonny Criss

With Teddy Edwards

With Booker Ervin

With Barry Harris

With Houston Person

With Pat Martino

With Charles McPherson

With Thelonious Monk

  • Monk in Tokyo (Far East, 1970)

With Kenny Burrell

With Red Garland

With Jon Hendricks

  • Tell Me the Truth (Xanadu, 1975)

With Sam Noto

  • Entrance (Xanadu, 1975)


  1. ^ a b "Lennie McBrowne and the 4 Souls". High Fidelity. 10 (2): 77. 1960.
  2. ^ Barnhart, Stephen L. (2000). Percussionists: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood. p. 81.
  3. ^ a b c d Bruyninckx, Walter (1981). 60 Years of Recorded Jazz 1917-1977, Vol. 7. Mechelen, Belgium. p. M-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Mitchell, Tillie (1960). Lenny McBrowne and the Four Souls (liner notes). Los Angeles, CA: Pacific Jazz.
  5. ^ a b c d Albertson, Chris (1960). Eastern Lights (liner notes). New York, NY: Riverside.
  6. ^ a b c Chadbourne, Eugene. "Lenny McBrowne - Biography". AllMusic. Rovi. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  7. ^ Sheridan, Chris (2000). Dis Here: A Bio-discography of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Westport, CT: Greenwood. p. 96.
  8. ^ Davis, Francis (2001). Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age Like Young. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press. p. 123.
  9. ^ Bley, Paul; Lee, David (1999). Stopping Time: Paul Bley and the Transformation of Jazz. Chicago, IL: Independent Publishing Group. p. 51.
  10. ^ Lenny McBrowne and The Four Souls (1960). "Saudi / Even Dozen". New York, NY: Riverside.
  11. ^ a b "Eastern Lights". Billboard. 73 (16): 28. April 24, 1961.
  12. ^ "Lenny McBrowne and the Four Souls: Eastern Lights". Stereo Review. 7: 103. 1961.

External linksEdit