Steve Brown (bass player)

Theodore "Steve" Brown (January 13, 1890 - September 15, 1965) was a jazz musician best known for his work on string bass. Like many New Orleans bassists, he played both string bass and tuba professionally.

Steve Brown
Steve Brown.jpg
Background information
Birth nameTheodore Brown
Born(1890-01-13)January 13, 1890
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
DiedSeptember 15, 1965(1965-09-15) (aged 75)
Detroit, Michigan
InstrumentsString bass
Associated actsNew Orleans Rhythm Kings, Jean Goldkette, Paul Whiteman

Brown was the younger brother of trombonist Tom Brown.[1] In his youth he played with his brother's band in New Orleans. Because of his devil-may-care personality he was nicknamed "Steve" after Steve Brodie, a man who became famous for jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge on a dare. Few musicians knew Brown's real name.[citation needed]

Brown went north to Chicago in 1915 with his brother Tom in the first wave of jazz musicians to go to the city.[2] He was a member of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in the early 1920s, where his slap style on bass attracted attention.[1]

In 1924 he joined Jean Goldkette's Orchestra, with whom he remained until 1927, creating the first recordings of the style.[1] In 1927, he joined the top-paying band in the United States, Paul Whiteman's Orchestra.[2]

Around 1930 he settled in Detroit, Michigan, which would be his home for the rest of his life. He led his own band and continued playing with traditional jazz and Dixieland bands into the 1950s.[1]

Wellman Braud, bass player with the Duke Ellington orchestra, once called Brown the greatest of all bass players.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "Steve Brown @ Music Rising ~ The Musical Cultures of the Gulf South". Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (December 1, 2001). Classic Jazz: Third Ear - the Essential Listening Companion. Hal Leonard. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-1-61774-486-0. Retrieved April 19, 2018.