Clora Bryant

Dizzy Gillespie called her “his protege”. She was discriminated against by her gender and did not become a bandleader until she was middle-aged. Clora Bryant was a trumpeter, widely considered to be one of the best jazz musicians on West Coast. However, she ran into gender-based restrictions on her fame. She died in Los Angeles on August 23, 2019. She was 92 years old. Self-described “trumpetiste,” Ms. Bryant was born in the 1940s and joined the bebop movement. She retained the brawny elocution of a big-band player and the gregarious attitude of a jazz musician, even though she was a fixture in Los Angeles’ modern jazz scene. Ms. Bryant was often subject to sexist discrimination and did not receive support from any major record labels or agents until she was middle-aged. Ms. Bryant was not a fan of fusion jazz by that time. Subscribe to the Louder Newsletter To stay up-to-date on jazz and pop music, listen to podcasts, reviews, and other information from The New York Times music editors. Even though jazz history was a major topic of academic concern in late 1970s/’80s, her achievements were not celebrated on the same level as her male counterparts who had received greater support throughout their careers. These same musicians recognized her talent and she was a frequent performer with them. Dizzy Gillespie was the inventor of bebop and found herself dazzled when he first heard her in mid-1950s. He took to calling her his protégée. Gillespie stated that “if you close your eyes, it’s just a man playing,” in an interview for “Trumpetistically Clora Bryant”, a documentary directed Zeinabu. He apparently meant it as a compliment. “She has the feeling and sound of the trumpet. Dick Wagner wrote in The Los Angeles Times that Ms. Bryant has the feeling of the trumpet, and not just the notes. Dick Wagner observed her charms in 1992 when she was in her mid-60s. He wrote, “When Bryant plays blues, it is low, almost guttural and a smoldering flame.” “When she plays a fast song, the sound can be piercing — it erupts.” Clora Bryant was born May 30, 1927 in Denison (Texas), the youngest of three children to Charles and Eulila Bryant. Her father was a day labourer. Clora’s mother, a homemaker, died when Clora turned 3. He left his children to care for them on $7 per week. Editors’ Picks Bill Cunningham’s Amazing Treasure Trove Where does affirmative action leave Asian-Americans in America? Kits for Parents’ Ambien and Kids’ Sleepovers Not Included Ms. Bryant attributes her success as a trumpeter to the support of her father. In a 2007 interview with JazzTimes magazine, she stated that no one ever said to her, “You can’t do the trumpet, you are a girl,” My father said to me, “It’s going be a challenge but if it’s something you want to do, I’m going to support you every step of the way.” After her high school created an orchestra and marching band, she took up the trumpet. She was a preternatural talent and would often wake up before school to attend private lessons. To attend Prairie View A, she turned down scholarships to the Oberlin Conservatory of Ohio and Bennett College in North Carolina in 1943.

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