Ray Bryant

Ray Bryant

December 24, 1931 --

Ray Bryant

"Ray Bryant is beautiful; that sound he gets is somewhere between a guitar and a harpsichord."

--Art Blakey

Ray Bryant is a Philadelphian who comes from an essentially pianistic family. His mother and sister both play; his eldest brother is a bassist. Ray, himself, started on bass in junior high school before switching to his present instrument.

From 1951 to 1953, Ray got his first professional experience with the local band of clarinetist Billy Kretchmer. Later, he became the house pianist at the Blue Note club (also in Philly) where he backed such greats as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Evidently, he made an impression on Miles, for in 1955, Ray was called in to New York to record with Davis, Milt Jackson and Jackie McLean.

With this first date under his belt, Ray, who was then heading his own trio in his home city, began to be more widely known. He did another recording for Prestige with Sonny Rollins (Worktime, Prestige) and continued to be active around Philly.

In the Encyclopedia of Jazz, Ray named Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson as his favorite pianists, and although his own style is very different that either of theirs, he has definitely learned from them in the matter of approaching the piano. In the abundant crop of fine young pianists playing today, Ray Briant still manages to stand out and shine.

--IRA GITLER, from the liner notes,
Ray Bryant Trio, Prestige.

A selected discography of Ray Bryant albums.

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The Hard Bop Homepage / Eric B. Olsen / ebolsen@juno.com
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