Obituary: Peter Brown

Longtime radio host and music supporter Peter Brown passed away of complications from COVID-19 after living a fulfilling life supporting his family and playing a broad-based music in the jazz and alt pop/R & B/African-American diaspora.

Morris W. Peter Brown was born in Ann Arbor September 29, 1956. He credited influence from: his favorite disc spinner Kenny Flint; Chester Carter, who suggested he do announcing after hearing “Pee Dee” do an impression; high school art teacher Jeanne Weinrich; Washtenaw Community College teachers Merrill McClatchey and Dr. Morris Lawrence, Jr.; and several friends.

In the book Time Spent Listening he credited hearing the Sun Ra Arkestra and the Cecil Taylor Unit at the 1974 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival in Exile at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada as life-changing.

Jim Dulzo hired him to broadcast music at the Ypsilanti based NPR affiliate on Halloween in 1986. He hosted Saturday afternoon shows and the Nu Boogaloo Revue Friday late nights. Recently he did shows including Trading Fours with Mary Catherine Smith on WCBN 88.3 FM at the University of Michigan where he also worked as an AV Tech.

Brown cited favorites The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, The Guess Who, saxophonists Jim Pepper and Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, CTI style jazz, singers Nancy Wilson and Aminata Moseka/Abbey Lincoln, pianist Henry Butler, Olu Dara, Charles Mingus, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and many others. Good friends included yours truly, Dr. Prof. Arwulf, Mary Catherine Smith and early buddies Odell “Spoodie O.D.” Bailey (his BFF), John Guidry, Trieste, Dana and Wang Xaifei.

After moving to Florida, then Nashville, Brown died on May 12. He is survived by children Che and Chianti, an ex-wife, sisters Johnnie Mae Brandon, Hollis Luster, Connie Mason, Donna Cherif, and his mother K.D. Brown. A memorial viewing and funeral was conducted by the C & H Home in Ypsilanti. There will be no burial.

He will be remembered for his deep, resonant radio voice, his sharp wit, non-compromising opinions, and fervent love of live music, recently seen at Ziggy’s in Ypsilanti pre-pandemic. His go-to signature statement was “no comment.”