Mr. Brower settled in Washington in 1971 and worked as a community organizer while becoming a behind-the-scenes figure in the city’s jazz world. In one of his first ad hoc jobs in jazz, he called himself a “kind of chaperone-manager” for a band that included trumpeter Wallace Roney, then a high school student at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
During the 1970s and ’80s, Mr. Brower wrote about jazz for a variety of publications, including Jazz Times, DownBeat, the Unicorn Times, the Journal newspapers, the Afro American and the Washington Informer. He reviewed albums, interviewed musicians and covered performances throughout the city, from Blues Alley in Georgetown to lesser-known clubs such as Pigfoot and Moore’s Love & Peace.
“I began to feel that over the years Washington’s role in the development of jazz was not sufficiently acknowledged,” he told writer Willard Jenkins in a 2014 interview on the Open Sky Jazz website.
By the early 1980s, Mr. Brower had begun working as a stagehand at the Warner Theatre, Constitution Hall and other venues, learning the technical side of concert production. He was also the jazz buyer for Olsson’s Books and Records from 1982 to 1985.
“At one point,” he told Jenkins, “I was working at Olsson’s twenty hours a week, working as a stagehand, and freelance writing.”
As one of the primary organizers of the Capital City Jazz Festival from 1985 to 1988, Mr. Brower brought many jazz stars to Washington, including Miles Davis, Betty Carter, Jimmy Scott, Milt Jackson, Tito Puente and Paquito D’Rivera. The festival also included panel discussions and art and photography exhibitions.
After attending workshops on festival production, Mr. Brower became a longtime stage manager at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He used his connections to present New Orleans musicians in Washington, including the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and trumpeter Terence Blanchard.
“He was one of the most competent stage managers for jazz festivals I’ve ever seen,” Rusty Hassan, a longtime DJ at WPFW-FM and a jazz history professor at the University of the District of Columbia, said in an interview. “All the musicians loved him, and they would stay backstage afterward and talk about music and politics.”
Mr. Brower also helped with programming at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and a jazz festival in Ingolstadt, Germany. He conducted interviews for the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program. In 2009, he produced eight concerts for the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage built around the theme of jazz in Washington.
With two business partners, Mr. Brower formed JBV Production, a company that produced stage events for the annual Taste of D.C. festival, awards shows and outdoor rallies. For about 20 years beginning in the early 1990s, he produced jazz concerts, panel discussions and prayer breakfasts and other events for the annual week-long conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
William Alston Brower Jr. was born May 9, 1948, in Toledo. His father was the first Black reporter at the Toledo Blade newspaper and among the first at any mainstream, White-owned publication in the country. His mother was a high school principal.
After graduating from Western Reserve Academy, a private boarding school in Ohio, Mr. Brower studied at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he helped initiate a Black studies program. He graduated in 1971.
His marriage to Anita Hillman Brower ended in divorce. Survivors include their two children, Dr. Tina Brower-Thomas of Washington and the Rev. Karl Brower of Woodbridge, Va.; and a longtime companion, Ilauna Ogunloye of Washington.
“I was working as a stagehand at the Kennedy Center on the Kabuki theater,” Mr. Brower told Jenkins, “and a Japanese stagehand pointed to an artist and said, ‘You see that guy there, he’s a living national treasure.’ Bingo, that’s where that language came from!”
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