WP:GNG Brownell began studying piano at the age of four and two years later started working through the Royal Conservatory curriculum (Canada) until his late teens, when he began playing rock and roll professionally.
From 1984–1991, Brownell was a member of the popular Ontario rock groups Longbottom, Inside Out and Straight No Chaser. After moving to Montreal in 1990 he founded Edwin and the Bedouins, and with this band toured throughout eastern Canada and North Africa, recording the albums Somebody’s Watching You (1996), Bering and Beyond (2006) and One for All (2011). Throughout this time he also played as a sideman in many of Montreal’s top local acts including Black and Blue, Angel and the Bad Boys, Crawdaddy and Souled Out.
As a bandleader, Brownell also worked nightclubs and arenas in central Canada with many top Montreal musicians including singers Angel Forrest and Bobby Lee Silcott, drummer Jerry Mercer (Mashmakhan, Triangle, April Wine), and guitarist John McGale and bassist Breen LeBoeuf (Offenbach). He has also had the honour of opening shows for Bruce Cockburn and Burton Cummings (The Guess Who).
Brownell earned his Honours in History in 1997, specializing on the Sino-American relationship from 1928–1949. He earned his master's degree in History at Concordia University in 2000, with a thesis based on oral-histories of members of the R&B scene in Montreal from 1967 to 1999.
In 2003, Edwin Orion Brownell returned to his classical roots, studying performance, composition and orchestration. His first two solo-piano recordings Maimonides Pops and Music of the Dance (2005) contain a highly acclaimed mix of originals and classical standards and these successes were followed up with his release of his all-original double album: Journey of the Spirit (2007) and another all-original CD album with an accompanying DVD documentary: Smile (2009). He followed this up with the launch of Songs of Love and Marriage in 2012. This album marked his first foray into arranging and featured Flaviu and Loredana Zanca (on violin and cello respectively) as The Zara Strings, along with guests Stéphanie Caplette (violin) and Xavier Lepage-Brault (viola) and the "So Happy Choir". Brownell's next CD was the live album "Forever Laughter" (2014) released with the Zara Strings at Place des Arts, Montreal
After writing his yet-to be-published history book "Operation Hannibal" on the 1945 German evacuation of Prussia, Brownell wrote, arranged and produced another chamber music album. This work, titled "The Inside Track," was launched at Loyola Chapel in Montreal in October 2016 with a sextet version of "The Zara Strings" (Veronica Ungureanu replaced Stéphanie Caplette on second violin and Linda Rand appeared on bassoon and flute). Several tracks from this concert were recorded and formed the basis of the composer's eleventh CD and eighth classical album "Songs for Canada" which was released at the Harold Greenspon Concert Hall in the Eleanor London Library in Côte Saint-Luc in April 2017.
Currently, Brownell is planning a release for his 12th CD and 9th classical album; "Edwin Orion Brownell Goes Baroque" in Spring 2018.
2013 marked the twentieth anniversary of his group Edwin and the Bedouins and over the next five years he has celebrated with a series of shows and benefit concerts featuring Breen LeBoeuf, Jerry Mercer, Gary Moffet, Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch, April Wine, The Guess Who) and Paul Harwood (Mahogany Rush).
Always active in the community, Brownell has given the gift of his enduring music to numerous charitable fundraisers, and has played in many benefits such as those thrown for Montreal Women’s Shelter, Earth First!, Greenpeace, Concordia University (the Keith Lowther Fellowship), the Quebec Diabetes Foundation, the Montreal Children's Hospital, the Head and Hands Clinic, "The Marathon of Hope: Philippine Relief Concert", Oxfam Québec Benefit for the Syrian Refugees, and Sheldon Kagan's Benefit Concerts for the Cummings Centre (2016) and the Shield of Athena (2017).Maimonides Pops (2005)
Music of the Dance (2005)
Journey of the Spirit (2007)
Songs of Love and Marriage (2012)
Forever Laughter (2014)
"The Inside Track" (2016)
"Songs for Canada" (2017)
With Edwin and the Bedouins
Somebody’s Watching You (1996)
Bering and Beyond (2006)
One for All (2011)
With Angel and the Bad Boys
Second Hand Blues (1995)
Angel Sings Janis (1997)
With Bobby Lee Silcott
With Wayne Dwyer
With Fred Cusinato
BPP Radio (2013)