July 3, 1930 |
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Ronnell Bright (born July 3, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz pianist. Also a dabbler in the area of acting, Ronnell made a guest appearance as a piano player in the Season 1 episode of The Jeffersons titled "Lionel, The Playboy". as well as similar cameo appearances on two other hit 1970's TV series, CBS-TV's The Carol Burnett Show, and NBC-TV's Sanford and Son.
Bright played piano from a very young age, and won a piano competition when he was nine years old. In 1944, he played with the Chicago Youth Piano Symphony Orchestra. He studied at Juilliard, graduating early in the 1950s. Moving back to Chicago, he played with Johnny Tate and accompanied Carmen McRae before relocating to New York City in 1955. There he played with Rolf Kuhn and put together his own trio in 1957. In 1957-58 he was with Dizzy Gillespie, and acted as an accompanist for Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, and Gloria Lynne over the next few years. His compositions were recorded by Vaughan as well as by Cal Tjader, Horace Silver, and Blue Mitchell. In 1964, he became Nancy Wilson's arranger and pianist after moving to Los Angeles. Later in the decade he found work as a studio musician, playing in Supersax from 1972 to 1974.
- As Leader
- The Ronnell Bright Trio (Polydor, 1958; reissued on Fresh Sound; reissued on Sam Records, 2012 ())
- Bright's Spot (Regent, 1957; reissue on Savoy, digital on Denon)
- Bright Flight (Vanguard)
- After Hours Jazz
- As Sideman
- Doris Day: The Love Album (recorded 1967, Concord, 1994)
- Coleman Hawkins: The Hawk Relaxes (Moodsville, 1961)
- Charles Kynard: Where It's At! (Pacific Jazz, 1963)
- Anita O'Day: I Got a Kick Out of You (Evidence, 1975)
- Shirley Scott: Workin' (Prestige, 1958–61)
- Sarah Vaughan: Vaughan and Violins (Mercury, 1958)
- Sarah Vaughan with the Count Basie Orchestra: No Count Sarah (Mercury, 1959)
- Sarah Vaughan: After Hours at the London House (Mercury, 1959)
- Sarah Vaughan with the Jimmy Jones Orchestra: Dreamy (Roulette, 1960; reissued on Fresh Sound)
- Frank Wess: Trombones and Flute (Savoy, 1956)
Bright has been married three times. To: Sallye Joyce Wilson - From 1951 to 1968 To: Joyce Diane (Coco) Henderson - From 1969 - 1974 To: Dianne Davis - current wife and soul mate
Bright has four (4) children from his first two marriages.
1. Lois Rene'Bright Wilkins, born October, 1953 to Sallye Joyce Wilson, 2. Faye Bright Juliot, born February, 1958 to Sallye Joyce Wilson, 3. Ronnell Ralph Bright, born October, 1963 to Sallye Joyce Wilson, 4. Ronnece Laura Bright, born July, 1971 to Joyce Diane (Coco) Henderson.
Bright has eleven (11) grandchildren from his first marriage and eight(8) greatgrandchildren. Several of them are carrying on his music legacy.