Deborah Brown is one of many American jazz performers who found her greatest fame and recognition overseas rather than in the U.S. She has said that she is equally inspired by Charlie Parker and Betty Carter. Her mother was a classical pianist who taught accordion. After a brief period on violin, Brown switched to accordion before taking piano lessons from her grandmother. She attended a local university for a few semesters but gained her most important musical training while performing live. Brown became a professional singer when she was 20, touring around the United States in different settings including appearances in Las Vegas in a big band that accompanied comic George Carlin.
Brown has toured the Far East, Japan, and Indonesia and she spent 1985-1995 living in Europe. All in all she has sung in over 50 countries. She has been accompanied by pianists Roger Kellaway (including ten duet concerts), Cedar Walton, and Dorothy Donegan, and sung with such notables as tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, harmonica great Toots Thielemans, and trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Benny Bailey. Other experiences include performing with Russia's Oleg Lundstrem Orchestra, Sweden's Sandviken Big Band, and Kluver Big Band from Denmark. She also toured Siberia with Russian saxophonist Nikolai Panov's quintet and led the quartet Jazz 4 Jazz which included pianist Horace Parlan. In addition to recording with pianist John Lundgren, the Doky Brothers, and the Sandviken Big Band, Brown has led 11 CDs of her own for such labels as 33 Jazz, Alfa, Timeless, Koch, Intermusic, Jazz 'N Pulz, and a duet set with guitarist Joe Beck for Jazz Voix. ~ Scott Yanow