2017 Walter Dyett Lifetime Achievement Award: Ari Brown


Saxophonist, Pianist and Mentor


Versatility has characterized Ari Brown’s career; a reedman and occasional pianist who plays hard bop and post-bop as convincingly as he plays avant-garde jazz. In college, Brown met Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell and others who would later become members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), which he joined in 1971. In addition to extensive work as a sideman, Brown is a member of Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio and also has several recordings as a leader to his credit since 1995.  He began his journey as an educator in the Chicago Public school system as an elementary and high school teacher.  His teaching experience has continued with positions at Columbia College, Urban Gateways,  Chicago Conservatory of Music, Olive-Harvey College, and University Of Illinois at Chicago. Additionally, Brown was one of the first Teaching Artists in the Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Masters Residency and Professional Staff Development Program which brings master artists into Chicago Public School classrooms for professional development, student/teacher relationship building and hands-on music instruction.

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