Ray Bryant

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Raphael "Ray" Bryant (born December 24, 1931 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , † June 2, 2011 in New York City ) was an American modern jazz pianist .


Bryant comes from a musical family; the mother led a church choir; his (older) brother was Tommy Bryant ; his nephews are Kevin and Robin Eubanks . From the age of six he received piano lessons; he also played bass in high school. When he was 14, he joined the musicians' union with his brother to play in local bands. He also received lessons from Elmer Snowden . He learned the bebop style through Red Garland in the mid-1940s . In 1948 and 1949 he toured with Tiny Grimes , then accompanied Billy Krechmer and Jack Teagarden . From 1953 he was resident pianist of the Blue Note club in Philadelphia, where he a. a. starred with Charlie Parker , Miles Davis and Lester Young . In 1955 he recorded with Betty Carter . In 1955 he worked on the prestige album Miles Davis and Milt Jackson Quintet / Sextet (together with Jackie McLean , Percy Heath and Art Taylor ). 1956/57 he was the companion of Carmen McRae ; In 1957 he recorded with Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge at the Newport Jazz Festival .

In 1959 Bryant moved to New York City, where he worked with Sonny Rollins , Charlie Shavers and Curtis Fuller and soon led his own trio; later he lived and worked in Toronto . He performed regularly at international festivals and has recorded a large number of albums. A popular success in 1960 was his title "Little Susie". His composition "Changes" was taken over by Miles Davis. He recorded the “Cubano Chant” for example with the Jazz Messengers on the Drum Suite album .

Bryant combined elements of blues, boogie-woogie, gospel, and even stride piano in his playing ; his style is characterized as "soulful", Allmusic particularly emphasizes his unaccompanied blues playing.

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Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary in The New York Times
  2. a b Allmusic