Milton Brown (September 7, 1903 – April 18, 1936) was an American band leader and vocalist who co-founded the genre of Western swing. His band was the first to fuse hillbilly hokum, jazz, and pop together into a unique, distinctly American hybrid, thus giving him the nickname, “Father of Western Swing”. The birthplace of Brown’s upbeat “hot-jazz hillbilly” string band sound was developed at the Crystal Springs Dance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas from 1931 to 1936. Brown’s music inspired the great string jazz musicians from Europe, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli who in 1935 formed the Hot Club de Paris quintet. Along with Bob Wills, with whom he performed at the beginning of this career, Brown developed the sound and style of Western swing in the early 1930s. For a while, he and his band, the Musical Brownies, were more popular than Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Brown’s career was cut short in 1936 when he died following a car accident, just as he was poised to break into national stardom.
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