Ray Bryant

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Ray Bryant
Raphael Homer Bryant.jpg
Background information
Birth name Raphael Homer Bryant
Born December 24, 1931
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died June 2, 2011(2011-06-02) (aged 79)
New York City, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1940s–2000s

Raphael Homer "Ray" Bryant (December 24, 1931 – June 2, 2011)[1] was an American jazz pianist and composer.

Early life[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, Ray Bryant began playing the piano at the age of six, also performing on bass in junior high school.[2] He turned professional before his age of majority. Bryant's brothers were the bass player Tommy Bryant (May 21, 1930 – March 1, 1982) and Len Bryant, who plays drums and is also a singer.

Later life and career[edit]

In 1948-49 Bryant toured with guitarist Tiny Grimes.[2] He was house pianist at the Blue Note club in Philadelphia[3] from 1953 to 1956, accompanying many other leading players such as Lester Young, Jo Jones, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Sonny Stitt.[2] He also played with Sonny Rollins, Melba Liston, and Coleman Hawkins, as well as singers Carmen McRae and Aretha Franklin. Bryant later resided in Detroit, Michigan. From the late 1950s, he led a trio, performing throughout the world, and also worked solo. He toured Europe regularly after appearing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1973.[2] In addition, he was a noted jazz composer, with well-known themes such as "Cubano Chant", "The Madison Time", "Monkey Business", and "Little Susie" to his credit.

Both Tommy and Ray Bryant formed a trio with Oz Perkins as the back-up band for the off-Broadway run of the comedy show Cambridge Circus, at Square East in 1964. The show starred John Cleese, Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor, David Hatch, Jo Kendall, Graham Chapman, Jonathan Lynn, and Jean Hart.

Bryant died in 2011 at the age of 79 in Queens, New York, after a long illness.[3][4]


The musicians Kevin Eubanks, Duane Eubanks, and Robin Eubanks are his nephews, whose mother is Bryant's sister Vera Eubanks, a pianist and organist specializing in gospel music.[5] Jennifer Bryant, who is Len Bryant's daughter, is a singer-songwriter and producer.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Art Blakey

With Arnett Cobb

With Miles Davis

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

With Al Grey

With Tiny Grimes

With Coleman Hawkins

With Jo Jones

With Clifford Jordan

With Yusef Lateef

With Lee Morgan

With Oliver Nelson

With Max Roach

With Sonny Rollins


  1. ^ Nate Chinen (June 3, 2011). "Ray Bryant, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 79". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ a b Scott Yanow, Ray Bryant biography, AllMusic.
  4. ^ Chinen, Nate (June 3, 2011). "Ray Bryant, Jazz Pianist, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Peter Vacher, "Ray Bryant obituary", The Guardian, June 8, 2011.

External links[edit]