First appointed in 1991, Phil Brown is Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies, as well as Coordinator of Music Business, at Southern Illinois University. An established professional jazz artist, composer, and educator, he performs with the New Arts Jazztet (NAJ).
The NAJ with Phil Brown has performed as part of a live statewide television broadcast, Arts Across Illinois: Center Stage (2004), at WTTW/Channel 11, Chicago, and is regularly selected for inclusion in the Illinois Arts Council’s Artstour Artist Roster. The New Arts Jazztet is featured on Brown's new CD, Arkadia (a caldera productions, 2014). The group enjoyed considerable nationwide radio airplay and attention on Brown's previous recording, Bright Side (a caldera productions, 2009). It was also featured along with FourOnSix, on his recording, Darkness Into Light (Carbondale: a caldera productions, 2006). Brown has fronted his own studio group as well, introduced on the release, Hope Street Saunter (Carbondale: a caldera productions, 2003) with the Phil Brown Quartet, featuring guitarist Fareed Haque, pianist Bradley Williams, and drummer Tom Hipskind. He also can be heard on the compact discs that accompany the 2-volume Jazz Tunes For Improvisation by Dan Haerle, Jack Petersen and Rich Matteson (Van Nuys: Alfred Music, 1983, 1997), with the North Texas State University Faculty Jazz Group, and on a number of other recordings.
Notable among the many jazz artists with whom Brown has collaborated are Pepper Adams, Ray Anthony, Tex Beneke, Lockjaw Davis, Herb Ellis, Steve Gadd, Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Harrell, Al Hirt, Delfeayo Marsalis, Marilyn May, Mark Murphy, Clark Terry and Willie Thomas. He has played a typical array of shows as well—Frankie Avalon, John Denver, Disney On Parade, the Fifth Dimension, the Four Freshmen, John Gary, Gypsy (revival with Tyne Daly), Bob Hope, the Ice Capades, Rich Little, the Lettermen, the Moody Blues, Debbie Reynolds, Bobby Vinton, and many others.
As a jazz educator, Brown has served as a guest artist, clinician, and adjudicator at any number of jazz camps and festivals, including the Fiesta Jazz Festival, the Longhorn Jazz Festival, the Southern Illinois Jazz Festival, and the Wichita Jazz Festival, and most recently, the University of Louisville’s Jazz Week. In 2009, he was a finalist and first alternate for a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program.
As an orchestra bassist, Brown was for 7 years, principal with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed as a full-time member of the Amarillo Symphony (principal) and the Jacksonville Symphony (second desk), as a guest member of the Northwest Indiana, the Savannah, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, and more recently, as a guest member of the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and the Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra.
While with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Brown was staff arranger, and wrote a number of pop arrangements for orchestra and rhythm section. These selections have been performed by the Jacksonville, the Louisville, the Hartford, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestras, among others. His more recent writing efforts have produced almost 50 originals for the New Arts Jazztet. In 2003, the Illinois Arts Council honored Brown for his work and commitment within the arts with an Artist Fellowship Award in music composition.
As Coordinator of Music Business at SIU, he brings a rich background of professional experience in marketing and sales; advertising and promotion; merchandising; management—artist, business, personnel, and stage; music, radio, and television production; and national and international tour organization.
Brown received his Master of Music Education Degree with an emphasis in jazz studies from North Texas State University. There as a graduate teaching fellow, he was an instructor of both double bass and jazz ensemble. He also was a member of NTSU's highly acclaimed jazz ensemble, the One O'Clock Lab Band. Brown's undergraduate work was completed at Northwestern University, where he received his Bachelor of Music in Composition. His bass teachers have included Lawrence Hurst, Ringwalt Warner, Evan Tonsing, Warren Benfield and Edward Rainbow. He studied composition with M. William Karlins and Luciano Berio.
His professional affiliations include Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the International Society of Bassists (ISB), and the Jazz Education Network (JEN). Brown is a native of Amarillo, Texas.