Donald Brown is a talented and popular pianist, whose compositions are study matter for many jazz musicians. Born in Mississippi, Brown first played drums and trumpet, before discovering at university that he could coax beautiful, rhythm 'n blues inspired notes from the piano. After years of performances in local clubs and bars he got the chance to replace James Williams in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Unfortunately, he only spent a year with them; arthritis forced him to slow down. He gained fame for his Grammy-nominated composition The Insane Asylum, first released on Wynton Marsalis' record J Mood. He is now performing with his quartet (including bass player Essiet Essiet and drummer Billy Kilson), with whom he made last year's CD At This Point in My Life.