Ray Bryant

A blues- and gospel-driven jazz pianist, Ray Bryant’s soulful compositions gained him fame starting in the 1960s. Ray Bryant was a great bop player. His playing blended older elements, including blues, boogie woogiegie and gospel into a unique, soulful and swinging style. No one else played “After Hours” quite like him. Bryant is the younger brother to bassist Tommy Bryant, and the uncle of Robin Eubanks and Kevin Eubanks (his sibling is their mother). Bryant began his career in the late 40s playing with Tiny Grimes. In 1953, he was appointed house pianist at The Blue Note Philadelphia, where he supported jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young. He also made important connections. He recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1956-1957), and performed with Jo Jones’ trio (1958). Bryant moved to New York in 1959 and began playing with Charlie Shavers, Sonny Rollins and Curtis Fuller. He soon formed his own trio. His commercial hits, including “Little Susie”, and “Cubano Chant”, kept him busy for many decades. Bryant recorded many times throughout his career, most notably for Epic and Columbia, Sue and Cadet. Even his electric piano dates in the 1970s were rewarding. Bryant’s best performances were when he played the blues unaccompanied on an acoustic guitar. Ray Bryant, 79, died after a long illness in Queens, New York, on June 2, 2011. Allmusic

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