Born in Lawrence, Kansas in 1908, Lawrence Brown was the son of a minister. Throughout
his life, he was very serious and abstemonious (that is, he never smoked,
gambled or drank).
Brown joined Duke Ellington in 1932 at age 25. Even then, he was a mighty trombonist. He played with unusual speed and agility and a uniquely fevered vibrato. In the middle 30's, he took over the role of plunger specialist when "Tricky" Sam Nanton left the band.
Brown left Ellington in 1951 and played for a few years with a Johnny Hodges-led small group. He did a lot of studio work in the late fifties before rejoining Ellington in 1960 and staying for a decade.