Dartanyan ("Dart) Brown -2007 Inductee
Growing up in East Des Moines with musician parents Ellsworth and Mary Alice Brown, Dartanyan Brown was exposed to lots of bebop music at an early age with local musicians such as Speck Redd, Wes Bettis and Frank Perowsky around. Dart sang in the YMCA boys chorus as a youngster and by the late 1960’s and 70’s, Dart was a fixture on the Des Moines music scene playing with many of the best players.
Dartanyan attended Drake University for a journalism degree but also learned to read music from Bob Weast and studied upright bass with John Ehrlich. All this time, Dart continued to play in various groups around Des Moines until he had an opportunity to join up with the nationally known recording group, Chase. He toured with Chase for 17 months until the tragic death of trumpeter, Bill Chase forced them to disband.
Dart returned to Drake University to play in the Jazz Band and finish up his degree. This was when he played in the group known as Midwest Express, one of the most memorable musical groups that ever existed in Des Moines. Many players went through that band in three years including Marcia Miget, Big Mike Edwards, Danny Nicholson and John Grguric. The music was a combination of blues, jazz and R & B and had a large following at Ernie’s Urban Lounge.
Brown and his wife, Marcia moved to Los Angeles for a while before beginning a four year residency at the University of Montana where they taught jazz improvisation through a wonderful Artists-in-schools program. Later, Dart moved back to Des Moines once again and became heavily involved in electronic music.
Today Dartanyan Brown lives in Marin County, California where he teaches at the Marin Academy. He is an inductee in the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and continues to perform and teach in Des Moines when he visits family every summer. You can learn more about Dartanyan Brown at Dartanyan's Website