Keith L. Brown is an accomplished composer, educator, and pianist, who has established himself as one of the most sought-after pianists in contemporary jazz. He was born in Memphis, TN, and raised in Knoxville, TN, where he began playing piano and bass at a young age. Keith grew up in a musically inclined family, where both his parents were musicians, and many of his aunts and uncles possessed exceptional musical talent. His father, Donald Brown, is a world-renowned jazz pianist, composer, and educator who was a part of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and has performed with many greats. His mother Dorothy is also a pianist who plays various woodwind instruments. Keith is currently the Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Piano at The University of Oregon.
Keith's musical journey began by learning to play the songs of R&B artists like Stevie Wonder by ear. He then started taking classical piano lessons at the age of eight. His father played a pivotal role in nurturing Keith's musical ambitions by teaching him how to play his original compositions and jazz standards. Keith and his brothers, Kenneth and Donald Jr., were deeply into hip-hop music during their formative years. However, Keith began to study jazz seriously after graduating from high school. It was during this time that he was significantly influenced by other great Memphis pianists such as Phineas Newborn Jr., James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller.
Since he began seriously playing at the age of 18, Brown has performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz luminaries. He currently tours as the pianist for Kenny Garrett. His tours and performances with artists such as Stefon Harris, Russell Gunn, Jazzmeia Horn, George Coleman, Greg Tardy, Camille Thurman, Terreon Gully, Willie Jones III, Endea Owens, Charles Tolliver, Buster Williams, Lenny White, Steve Turre, John Clayton, and more have captivated audiences worldwide. Drawing on his roots in R&B, Funk, Classical, Jazz, and Hip-Hop, Brown's unique composition and piano style seamlessly integrates these influences. He possesses an exceptional understanding of the language of jazz piano masters and can effortlessly transition between hard swing, funk, and free styles, while also showcasing his own distinct voice. With his innovative approach to jazz piano and his ability to seamlessly blend different musical styles, Keith L. Brown is a true standout in the world of contemporary jazz.