Jazz Pianist and Singer Pearl Thuston Brown Dies at 84

An Elder Stateswoman of Kansas City Jazz, singer and pianist Pearl Thuston Brown, died on Monday, August 29 at the age of 84. Thuston Brown was a professional musician for 60 years - including 30 of those years on the road.

Kansas City, Mo. – Thuston Brown was born in Kansas City, Mo., and raised in Kansas City, Kan. Her father (and siblings) played piano, so she got an early start at the age of six.

"So when I started banging on the piano, he (Thuston Brown's father) thought it was alright," said Thuston Brown. "He'd say, 'My little Pearl is going to be a wonderful young lady. And she can make a piano talk.'"

In 2007, Thuston Brown spoke to Chuck Haddix, host of The Fish Fry on KCUR, about singing with Lionel Hampton's band, meeting Billie Holliday, and getting her start in Kansas City.

This interview also included music from the 2009 recording, "The World of Pearl Thuston." Special thanks to KCUR's Michael Byars and Chris Prewitt.

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