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Ray Bryant

When Ray Bryant rose to national prominence in the 1950s, he was noted for his ability to meet the sophisticated harmonic demands of modern jazz while retaining the muscle and swing of old forms and the spirit of the gospel music that surrounded him when he was a child. Any performance by Bryant is steeped in the blues, even when he's not playing a blues. Born in Philadelphia, Bryant (whose older brother Tommy was a bassist) gained experience playing early rhythm ’n’ blues and swing with guitarist Tiny Grimes in the late 1940s. As the house pianist at Philadelphia’s Blue Note, he had opportunities to play with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Miles Davis. Bryant began to gain attention during 1956-1957 when he worked with Carmen McRae and appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival with Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge. After recording with the Jo Jones Trio, Bryant moved to New York, worked with Sonny Rollins, Charlie Shavers, and Curtis Fuller, and led his own series of trios. Of his early recordings, “Django,” (recorded for Prestige in 1957) features his trio work on a bop-oriented repertoire while “Alone with the Blues,” is a masterful set of unaccompanied solos. Bryant, who wrote such catchy numbers as “Little Susie” and “Cubano Chant” and was never shy to show the influence of gospel music and soul in his playing, has worked and recorded steadily ever since. During 1976-1980 he was in peak form when he cut five albums for Pablo: the trio dates “Here’s Ray Bryant,” “All Blues,” and “Potpourri,” and a pair of solo gems in “Solo Flight,” and “Montreux ’77.” Bryant continued his recording output in the ‘80’s with sessions for Emarcy, and the ‘90’s with “Tribute to his Jazz Piano Friends,” (1997 JVC) and “Ray Bryant meets Ray Brown.” (1999 IMS) He rolled into the new century with a couple of fine live sets for Label M, “North of the Border,” and “Somewhere in France.” These are reviewed here at ‘all about jazz.’ For many years, his trios have been extremely popular. But Bryant's cult status, not only among jazz listeners but with classical musicians and fans around the world, has been achieved through his solo piano recordings. Standing apart from musical trends and always being his own man, Ray Bryant has long been a unique, distinctive, and very accessible pianist.


Album Review

Ray Bryant: Somewhere In France

Read "Somewhere In France" reviewed by Jim Santella

Recorded in 1993 before a live audience somewhere in France, this session was sitting around in Ray Bryant's home on a cassette tape that the sound man had handed him after the performance. The artist hadn't had time to listen to it; he hadn't even realized he was being recorded until the performance was over.

The session turns out to be a significant milestone that documents this unique pianist. As a solo piano performance, the music is unobstructed. The sound ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant: North of the Border

Read "North of the Border" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

New Jazz Chamber Music from None Other than Ray Bryant.

A new myth is carefully woven in the fabric of producer Joel Dorn's career. This one involves a trash sack of cassette tapes collected by pianist Ray Bryant's sound engineer of live Bryant performances over the past number of years. Out of this entire trash sack, Dorn found about 50 performances that Bryant liked. Dorn further narrowed this down to about ten performances for release. The first of these was ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant: North Of The Border

Read "North Of The Border" reviewed by AAJ Staff

If only the rest of us could find overlooked valuables tucked away in closets and cabinets as efficiently and nonchalantly as can Ray Bryant. But then, the rest of us don't have Ray Bryant's talent, his worldwide performing schedule or his modesty. Such quiet modesty led Bryant to tuck away the performance tapes that recording engineers have given him over the years until a less-modest Joel Dorn discovered the cache. Since that discovery, a rediscovery of Ray Bryant's prolific career ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant, Hank Crawford, Heavy Flute: Three By Label M

Read "Three By Label M" reviewed by Douglas Payne

I have a belief that all writing must avoid the nominative singular pronoun, “I.” This is particularly necessary in reviews or interviews. What is any reader to think of an article allegedly about something or someone else when it’s littered with references to “I,” “me” and “my”? Who cares? A good writer will reveal personal knowledge or discourse in writing that easily avoids such personal interjections.Well, since I’ve now contradicted my own theory, I’ll blame producer ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant: Somewhere In France

Read "Somewhere In France" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Now that the newest label in the jazz recording industry, Label M, is gaining momentum in the volume and frequency of its releases, producer Joel Dorn goes back to one of his earlier successes. That earlier classic album is Ray Bryant's Alone At Montreaux.Once again, Dorn is releasing one of Bryant's live recordings somewhere in Europe. This time, the country happens to be France, and the discovery of the live tape amounts to one of the year's top ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant (32 Jazz (32128): Ray Bryant: Alone at Montreux

Read "Ray Bryant: Alone at Montreux" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Ray Bryant’s Piano. Alone At Montreux is the result of 32 Jazz’s Joel Dorn’s tenure at Atlantic records. Through a collaboration with the Atlantic/Rhino re-release project, music that would otherwise go unreleased, will now see the light of ear. There is little live solo Bryant available, making this offering that much more valuable.

The Blues...as Usual. Ray Bryant is a blues player, par excellence. He is equaled only by Gene Harris and Junior Mance. The blues infuses all that Bryant ...

Album Review

Ray Bryant: Alone At Montreux

Read "Alone At Montreux" reviewed by Jim Santella

A little more than a year ago, Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won Academy Awards for their roles in the film As Good As It Gets. In one memorable scene, Nicholson turns to the male costar, an artist, and remarks, “If that did it for me I’d be the luckiest guy in the world" (or words to that effect). Ray Bryant’s “After Hours" and “Slow Freight" do that for me. Deep rumbling bass notes, a full orchestral sound with gospel ...

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Backgrounder: Ray Bryant - Alone With the Blues

Backgrounder: Ray Bryant - Alone With the Blues

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Recorded in December 1958, Alone With the Blues was Ray Bryant's first solo piano album. Growing up, Bryant was deeply influenced by the church, and gospel always played a big part in his approach to jazz. His mother was an ordained minister in Philadelphia and made sure Bryant was with her in the pews. He began playing at age 6, and by 12 he was being paid to play at local events. Throughout the 1950s, Bryant was the house pianist ...



Ray Bryant, 1931-2011

Ray Bryant, 1931-2011

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Ray Bryant died on Thursday in a New York hospital following a long illness. He was 79. A pillar of modern mainstream piano, Bryant was often categorized as a blues pianist. He was certainly that, a great one, but his stylistic breadth,powerful swing and harmonic flexibility put him in demand not only by blues singers and players but also by the most sophisticated modern jazz artists from the 1950s on. A list of a few of his colleagues and employers ...



Ray Bryant - R.I.P.

Ray Bryant - R.I.P.

Source: Sound Insights by Doug Payne

While the news today has been full of the deaths of Jack “Dr. Death" Kevorkian, 83 (a curiously interesting musician in his own right), and actor James “Matt Dillon" Arness, 88, the great pianist Ray Bryant has also died. His sound—a mix of joyous jazz and grandstanding gospel—was like no other and is evident on many recordings by Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Golson, Oliver Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Sonny Rollins, Yusef Lateef and others. Ray Bryant began recording ...


Music Industry

Somewhere In France "Live" In 1993 Ray Bryant On Solo Piano Laid Down "Take The A-Train," "Slow Freight," "Good Morning Heartache" and More

Somewhere In France "Live" In 1993 Ray Bryant On Solo Piano Laid Down "Take The A-Train," "Slow Freight," "Good Morning Heartache" and More

Source: All About Jazz

In Stores September 26th on Label M.

One of the first calls Joel Dorn made when forming Label M was to his old friend, the great jazz pianist, Ray Bryant. He was looking for any old concert tapes Ray might have had of himself. Within a week Ray arrived with a garbage bag full of cassettes he found in an old china closet. It was from that stash that this gem of a concert was discovered. Ray was given the ...





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