In June 1956, pianist Richie Powell and Clifford Brown were travelling to Chicago for their next gig. Powell’s wife Nancy was at the wheel so that Clifford and Richie could sleep. While driving at night in the rain, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, west of Harrisburg all three died in a fatal car crash. Clifford’s car accident 1956 presumed to be caused by Nancy Powell
who fell asleep at the wheel. However, that is not a proven fact. What’s clear is she was driving and lost control of the vehicle. Strangely, Clifford’s first car accident put him in the hospital for many months. He was only 19 at the time. That car accident left him with a bad shoulder problem. In fact, so bad he turned to the piano because he couldn’t lift the trumpet to his lips. Clean-living Clifford Brown escaped the influence of both heroine and alcohol addiction, which plagued so many of his colleagues. Clifford’s 1956 car accident was enormous loss to the jazz community.
Clifford’s car accident 1956
Brown was born in Delaware and briefly attended Delaware State University as a math major. He transferred to Maryland State College so he could immerse himself in music. Brown married Emma LaRue Anderson in 1954 who he called Joy Spring. She was a couple of years younger than Brown. Clifford was influenced and encouraged by Fats Navarro, whom he first met at the age of 15, sharing Navarro’s virtuous technique and brilliance of invention. Clifford wrote many of today’s jazz standards. But my favorite is Joy Spring. Therefore, I humbly present my big band arrangement of Joy Spring which you can see and hear by clicking on Lean more button below. Clifford’s 1956 car accident killed him.