Dartanyan Brown began his musical life listening to his father Ellsworth
Brown playing and teaching jazz in the late 1950's. His mother, Rev. Mary Alice
Brown was also a musician with a passion for classical and spanish music.
Dartanyan began playing Folk music while at North High School in Des Moines
during the mid-’60s. Influenced by Des Moines Rock legend G.T. Clinton,
Dartanyan learned to play the bass guitar with his first professional gig being
with The Soul Brothers, which featured Blues Hall of Famers Harlan Thomas,
Chicago Rick Lussie and Gene Jackson.
Dartanyan would form his first
band in 1968 while attending Drake University. The Black & Blues Band,
featured fellow Drake students guitarist Frank Tribble, saxophone player Rick
Arbuckle and trumpet player Paul Micich. In 1969 Brown formed Wheatstraw a
proto-blues rock quartet featuring Blues Hall of Famer Ron DeWitte (formerly
with The American Legends), Craig Horner on B3 and drummer David Bernstein from
Ottumwa. The band toured the Midwest constantly for nearly two years before
Dartanyan returned to Des Moines in 1972.
In 1973 Dartanyan's career took
a decided upturn when he was called to join Epic Records recording Artist Chase,
led by international trumpet star Bill Chase. The Grammy nominated Chase band
toured the nation for 17 months, recorded 3 highly acclaimed albums (Dartanyan
is featured on the third album Pure Music) and toured with artists including
Herbie Hancock, Jim Croce, Sly and the Family Stone and many more.
Unfortunately, a plane crash in August 1974 took the life of Bill Chase and
three other band members.
With the demise of Chase, Dartanyan returned to
Des Moines and Drake to complete work on the journalism degree he started in
1967. To stay active, he joined the Drake Jazz Band where he met musician
Marcia Miget. Both Marcia and Bobby Parker invited Dartanyan to join their band
The Midwest Express. Playing regularly at Ernie’s Urban Lounge, the band built a
devoted fan base and stayed busy for 4 years. MWE featured Danny Nicholson,
Bobby Parker, drummer John Grguric and the late legendary vocalist Big Mike
Edwards, a 2010 inductee to the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame.
a band under his name in 1979. The band featured a revolving lineup of some of
Iowa's best jazz, rock and blues musicians. Keyboardists Lynn Willard and Sam
Salomone, percussionist Bobby Aguiniga, bassist/vocalist Susie Miget and gospel
star Liz Sharp all made significant contributions to Dartanyan's versatile,
danceable and often thought-provoking sounds of the period.
Todd Productions they opened for such luminaries as country-rocker Kenny
Loggins, jazz sage Ben Sidran, blues legend Luther Allison and smooth jazz
pioneer Grover Washington, Jr. (who sat in with Dartanyan). Brown moved to the
San Francisco area in 1988 to pursue his love of electronic music and sound
design. A passionate educator, he has worked in k-12 and university education
for over 30 years as an Artist-in-Residence. He returned to Des Moines Iowa in
2013 and expects to return to the stage in 2017 to celebrate 50 years of making
great music. http://www.dartanyan.com