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Executive edge: Darrick Brown: bank VP still moonlights as musician.

Denver native Darrick Brown will never forget the Manual High School choir director who would forever change his life.


"We had the best music program in the city, and if it hadn't been for Dr. Joyce Davis I'm not sure where I'd be right now," said Brown, who began his 27-year banking career working as a credit clerk with United Bank of Denver and today is a Wells Fargo senior vice president, overseeing its corporate diversity council across seven states.

It's hard to keep up with the banker by day and jazz musician by night as he ticks off his many activities--vice chairman of the board of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, vocalist for the five-member Latitude Experience jazz band and co-owner of the Jazz @ Jack's nightclub in the Denver Pavilions for which he developed the business plan. And then there's his travel schedule, plus community work, including serving on the Denver Public Schools renewal committee that vows to reopen Manual High School.

"Growing up poor, I've always moonlighted," said Brown, shrugging off his busy schedule. His father left the family when he was young; his mother died of the flu when he was 11. His grandmother--"a true hero, the kind you don't hear about"--reared him and his four brothers.

But music would remain a common thread throughout Brown's life thanks to Davis, who inspired him at a time when his life easily could have taken a wrong turn.

"I learned that I loved to perform, that I could write lyrics," said Brown, 46. "And my grandmother told me that I had a destiny and I always believed that." Brown wrote a song for his grandmother titled "Back in the Day," which is on the Latitude Experience CD.

At the same time, Brown had a knack for detail and business that would emerge as he worked his way through the Community College of Denver, Metro State College of Denver and Regis University while progressing in the banking industry that paid for his education.

"I had tremendous mentors here--one of my bosses even taught me how to tie a tie," said Brown. "I opened branches in Montbello and Five Points, honed my public-speaking skills, learned corporate etiquette and moved my way up in the company. When most people were watching TV, I was reading the Wall Street Journal."

And music would play a part in his career as he joined Wells Fargo's Christmas choir that sang in nursing homes, at company functions and other venues. He performed in internal commercials for Wells Fargo and at the banking giant's national events, including one at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

"I have a business side, a lucky side and a creative side, and if I had to perform all the time, I wouldn't enjoy it as much," said Brown. "You might say that music is in my blood because my grandfather on my dad's side, Hillard Brown, played drums with Duke Ellington's band in the 1940s. And I sang gospel music in church. But being a crooner, jazz was a natural fit for me."
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Comment:Executive edge: Darrick Brown: bank VP still moonlights as musician.
Author:Bronikowski, Lynn
Article Type:Biography
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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