Ari Brown, saxophone

Teaching Associate



bachelors degree in Music Education, Vandercook School of Music



Ari Brown began his professional career around 1965, performing with soul, rock and blues bands throughout Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where he performed with such vocalists and vocal groups as Gene Chandler, the Chi-Lites, B.B. King, Lou Rawls, Four Tops, and the Emotions.

In 1968, Mr. Brown received a bachelor's degree in Music Education from the Vandercook School of Music in Chicago. Upon completion of his formal studies he continued performing with jazz and R&B bands in Chicago, the Midwest, and on the East Coast, performing with such artists Muhal Richard Abrams, the Awakening, Chuck Berry, the Dells, Billy Eckstine, the Emotions, the Four Tops, Walter Jackson, Della Reese, and Sonny Stitt.

1974 found Ari able to make use of his educational experience beginning with his association with the Chicago Public Schools system as an elementary and high school teacher. His teaching experience also includes positions at Columbia College, Chicago (saxophone instructor), Urban Gateways, Chicago, (teaching, lecturing and performance), Chicago Conservatory of Music, (saxophone instructor), Olive-Harvey College, Chicago (music fundamentals), Jazz Institute Mentoring Program, Chicago (teaching, the art of improvisation), and University Of Illinois at Chicago (saxophone instructor).

Since 1979, Mr. Brown has been able to pursue his passion (musically) by performing almost exclusively in the Jazz idiom. His performances throughout Chicago, and the USA, Africa, Asia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe, have been with his own working band, the Ari Brown Quintet, and include The AACM Experimental Orchestra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Ritual Trio, Hamiett Bluitt, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, Donald Byrd, Ken Chaney, Kahil El Zabar, Jon Faddis, Malachi Favors, Von Freeman, Elvin Jones, Roscoe Mitchell, Famoudou Don Moye, David Murray, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Stop-Time Orchestra, McCoy Tyner, Val Gray Ward, Edward Wilkerson, and Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra with Orbert Davis.

Additionally, Ari has made several appearances at major venues including: Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago (solo), Smithsonian Institute, Steppenwolf Theatre, Jazz at the Symphony Center (Chicago), Detroit Orchestra Hall, Village Vanguard, Blue Note (NYC) Newport Jazz Festival, Dakota’s Bar and Grill (Minneapolis), Jazz Alley (Seattle), Yoshi’s (Oakland), Chicago Jazz and Blues Festivals, Millennium Park Jazz Series, North Sea Festival (The Hague, Netherlands), numerous European festivals, and The Jazz Showcase (Chicago). He also has made two cameo film appearances, a clarinet solo in The Babe, starring John Goodman, and a saxophone solo in The Visitors, starring Christina Applegate.

Ari Brown has been recognized for his musical achievements by receiving numerous awards throughout his career, including four National Endowment of the Arts Awards, NIAA Certified Gold Record, for the album Flowers, recorded by the Emotions, Columbia Records, ©1974, Inner City Grant, Chicago Council on Fine Arts, 2002 recipient of the Alyo Award, Muntu Dance Company, the National Arts Initiative Chicago Legends of Jazz Award in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to the Great Legacy of Jazz in Chicago, and, most recently, the 28th Annual Chicago Music Awards Best Jazz Entertainer, 2009. Additionally, he was commissioned to write music for Foday Musa Suso and the Kronos String Quartet. His professional associations include Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia.

Courses Taught

applied jazz saxophone