John V. Brown Jr.
Professor of the Practice of Music

Bassist, composer, educator and actor John Brown is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and currently resides in Durham, NC. He is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John currently serves as Director of the Jazz Program and Associate Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University, and he has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University and Guilford College (Greensboro, NC). He has been performing professionally since his teens, and has performed internationally with artists like Wynton Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Nnenna Freelon, Cyrus Chestnut, Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Nell Carter, Lou Donaldson, Slide Hampton, Nicholas Payton, Frank Foster, Larry Coryell, Cedar Walton, Fred Wesley, Bernard Purdie and Mark Whitfield, as well as giving regular performances as a substitute with the North Carolina Symphony since 1992. He has performed for President Barack Obama, and at major national and international venues and festivals in Asia, Europe and South America.

John has a GRAMMY nomination for his performance and co-writing on Nnenna Freelon’s 1996 Concord release, Shaking Free, and he served on the Jury Awarding the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He has also produced and performed on recordings for Nnenna Freelon, Linda Lavin and a host of others. The film One Night in Kernersville (documenting the first recording session of John’s Big Band) won “Best Short Film” at the Full Frame Film Festival, “Best Cinematography” at the Charlotte Film Festival and is now being shown on the Documentary Channel. He actively performs and records internationally as a sideman and a leader, produces recordings and gives education residencies across the nation. He also directs an all star youth jazz ensemble, is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and is a YAMAHA Certified String Instructor and serves on the Board of the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program. See videos, hear music and learn more at

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