John Robert Brown is Past Chairman of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain, and is married to Dr Wendy Brown, a retired Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry, now an enthusiastic amateur double-bass player.
John has contributed regularly to Classical Music magazine, Jazz Journal, Pianist and Music Teacher, as well as Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine and Winds journal. He wrote the chapter on Jazz Clarinet in the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet, and contributed the pencil drawings to the Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone. John's How to Play Saxophone (St. Martin's Press, New York) was first published in 1983. His Concise Guide to Musical Terms, published in 2002 by Mel Bay, was named 'Editor's Choice' in Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine. John's book, A Concise History of Jazz, was published by Mel Bay in 2004. His arrangement of The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba was performed by the Fairer Sax in the John Schlesinger film 'Madame Sousatzka' (1988). Other publications include Quintet for Brass (1994, premiered by Fine Arts Brass), La Habana, for euphonium and piano (Warwick Music), Quartet for Saxophones (Warwick Music), and twenty folios of jazz transcriptions for IMP and Warners. His saxophone pieces Altango and Tangram (both published by Warwick Music) appeared in the 2007 ABRSM Grade VI saxophone examination lists. His recorder studies Calidarium and Breakfast at Betty's (both Warwick Music) were in the ABRSM Treble Recorder examination syllabus for 2008/2009.
His first pamphlet of poetry was published by The Iron Press, Tyneside, in 2016.
Leaving King Edward VI Grammar School, Nuneaton at sixteen (in 1957) where he had appeared in school plays alongside Ken Loach, John qualified as an engineering draughtsman at Courtaulds in Coventry. That apprenticeship entitled him to be a Freeman of the City of Coventry. Simultaneously, he studied the clarinet and saxophone, and eventually worked for a decade as a performing musician. He played in a variety of ensembles, including the Joe Daniels Band, the Tony Hatch Orchestra, a ship's orchestra on the Southampton-Capetown run, a Hamburg Rock Group (the Blackjacks), the Hallé Orchestra - and even at a Wavendon 'Music Matters' session, accompanied by Sir John Dankworth on piano.
After obtaining an honours degree in Education at Nottingham John was, briefly, a schoolmaster, teaching class music and maths in a girls' secondary school. Then, from 1975, for 22 years he taught full-time as a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader at Leeds College of Music, under Dick Hawdon.
During this period John established an annual international Jazz Education Conference at Leeds. The early Conferences featured many contemporary Americans, including Rob McConnell, Randy Brecker, Hal Galper, Mark Levine, Dan Morgenstern, Daryl Sherman and Loren Schoenberg. John also served as a judge on various TV jazz competitions, alongside Marion Montgomery, Dave O‘Higgins and Bob Wilber. He was also a founder member of the Jazz Development Trust, with Sir John Dankworth and Digby Fairweather. During this period he twice played his own jazz compositions in New York City, at events organised by the International Association of Jazz Educators.
For the final decade of his work in higher education John acted as a student recruitment consultant, first for Leeds College of Music and later for Birmingham Conservatoire. In this capacity he travelled worldwide, in particular to Korea, Japan and China.