After studying at DuSable High School and Wright Jr. College under John DeRoule he worked briefly with Woody Herman before going on to join Count Basie ’68-9, returning to freelance in Chicago with Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Dexter Gordon and James Moody. Moving to Los Angeles in 1971, he worked with Gerald Wilson, Harold Land, Oliver Nelson, Shelly Manne, Quincy Jones (with whom he toured in Japan), Horace Silver and Duke Pearson.
Brashear has recorded with Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Smith, Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson, Bobby Hutcherson, B. B. King, Bobby Bland, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Farrell, The Crusaders, McCoy Tyner, Gene Harris, Randy Newman, Frank Sinatra, Earth, Wind & Fire, Carole King, Benny Carter, Billy Higgins and Ry Cooder.