Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Teddy Brown, a xylophone virtuoso.

As a percussionist, I always thought George Hamilton Green was the paradigm of the xylophonists, the virtuoso par excellence. His book is the Bible of the instrument, containing concepts I have incorporated to my playing (keeping wrists very low, using the edge on the accidental bars...). He was a prolific composer, a magnificent player and a successful teacher.

© Meredith Music

Apart from George Hamilton Green, my "xylophonistic radar" engaged George Lawrence Stone, Bob Becker, and few others. Recently, and thanks to the magic of the Internet, I have discovered a fantastic player: Teddy Brown.

Abraham Himmelbrand (that was his real name) was a man of rotund appearance, multi-instrumentalist, with an extraordinary musical talent, who played xylophone extraordinarily well.

A few videos:

See the ease on his playing, the use of the edge on the accidentals (magnificent that lateral shot), how low he keeps his wrists, those one handed scales.. A true virtuoso!

On this last video, he makes difficult things look easy, so confident... This song is quite cheesy, but makes me want to sing "walking in a winter wonderland".

Apart from being a terrific xylophone player, he was an amazing snare drummer. See his left hand on 0:25 onwards!

Here he is playing both instruments:

Teddy Brown: a natural talent and, sadly, not known among percussionists. Maybe, it was his premature death at 46, together with the fact that he left no legacy in the form of a book (something George Hamilton Green did) that condemned this player to oblivion.

…et in Arcadia ego.
© David Valdés


  1. HI David,

    Love your blog. Teddy Brown is a favorite of mine... what a talent!

    As far as I know, he only wrote a small booklet called "50 Syncopated Breaks for the Xylophone" compiled and arranged by Teddy Brown. It's very difficult to find.



    Love his playing in this song even though you can't see it in the vid.