Glen Browne: bassist extraordinaire, producer, and bandleader
During the 1970s when America’s best ever sibling group, The Jackson Five, produced a flood of Top 10 hits, and the Sylvers created a surfable swell, a Jamaican equivalent, The Browne Bunch, consisting of school-aged brothers Glen, Dalton, Noel, Cleveland and Danny Browne, was generating small ripples across Reggaeland
Glen, the eldest, born on July 2, 1952, was the first with the intense desire for music and the other brothers followed in his footsteps. They would, however, create a family tradition that trickled down to the next generation
Glen Browne started out in entertainment as a sound system (disco) operator during the late 1960s. But, “I was always attracted to the bass [guitar], he recalls. His early musical taste was influenced by the diverse music played by various members of his family.
But, as Glen recounts, “From the age of 14 I was buying jazz records which my friends found very funny. I got attracted to the bass at an early age and when the opportunity arose I would sneak out to watch and listen to Lyn Tate & the Comets and the Skatalites, the top Ska bands of those days.
He launched out as a singer but Glen Browne as a singer was short-lived. Still, his heart was set on being a bass player, he seized an opportunity to be a percussionist with the Mickey Chung led Virtues band. “That was really where I got further inspired by bass player Val Douglas”, he noted.
At age 17, his father bought him a bass guitar, after two attempts, and his fervent practice saw him, there years later, playing base on The Browne Bunch fourth recording, Choo Choo Train. Not long after he joined up with The Falcon band that was in need a bass player.
Today, Glen Browne is a virtuoso bassist on both electric and upright bass, in reggae and jazz, earning much respect among musicians in Jamaica and in other parts of the world.
“ I worked on Electric Boogie, produced by Bunny Wailer and sung by Marcia Griffiths” The immensely popular song became a hit in the USA in 1989, seven years after it was recorded and even inspired the Ric Silver created dance, The Electric Slide. Glen later did commercial jingles with both the famed Jamaican pianist Peter Ashbourne and saxophonist Cedric Brooks.
“This was when I started getting into jazz, Browne explains. Encouraged by Ashbourne he actually enrolled at the prestigious Jamaica School of Music but dropped out after a couple weeks. “I bought all the books I can and became self-taught”, he explained. .