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16 June 2015

Allan Browne 1944-2015

Allan Browne Image: Allan Browne  

One of the greats of Australian jazz, 70-year-old drummer and composer Allan Browne, died last Saturday afternoon in Melbourne. Described by colleague and collaborator, pianist Paul Grabowsky as 'the most important jazz musician Melbourne has produced', Allan Browne kept performing to the last despite a serious illness, and had only just released a new album, Ithaca Bound (Jazzhead), with his Allan Browne Quintet (Browne, Eugene Ball, Geoff Hughes, Nick Haywood and Phil Noy).

These were just some of the musicians that Browne appeared with regularly, as the drummer collaborated with artists from many generations, over many decades. Browne explored styles from traditional to modern jazz, from his early appearances with his Red Onion Jazz Band in the 1960s to his last, Homer-inspired album of original work. Allan Browne's accolades include the prestigious Don Banks Music Award (2001), induction into the Graeme Bell Jazz Hall of Fame, and appearances on many ARIA award-winning releases.

In the notes accompanying the Ithaca Bound album, Browne wrote:

"Early in 2002 I was on life support. My gig life seemed over. Then mid-year I was given another chance. An unknown donor and the wonderful Alfred Hospital transplant team gave me another working lung. I could play again!"

The album was launched during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival in early June. He was booked to appear at Melbourne's Bennetts Lane on Monday - the club's very last night before its closure. Monday nights at Bennetts Lane had enjoyed almost weekly appearances by Browne for over 20 years.

Further links

'Australian Jazz community mourns death of drummer and composer Allan Browne' - obituary by Ebony Bowden in The Age (15 June 2015)
'Alan Browne drummed up great jazz for over 50 years' - obituary by Andra Jackson in The Australian (15 June 2015 - requires subscription)
Ithaca Bound - album details (Jazzhead)

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