A fine trumpeter with a wide range who primarily performed with big bands (often playing lead), Bobby Bryant was considered a valuable musician although as a soloist he tended to be underrated. Early on Bryant played trumpet and tenor before settling on the former. He moved to Chicago in 1952, attending the Cosmopolitan School Of Music. After graduating in 1957, Bryant freelanced for three years in Chicago, working with Red Saunders, backing singer Billy Williams and gigging with smaller groups. He spent 1960 in New York and then relocating to Los Angeles the following year where he permanently settled. Bryant appeared in many different situations through the years including touring with Vic Damone, heading his own groups and playing with such big bands as Charles Mingus (1964), Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson, the Frank Capp/Nat Pierce Juggernaut and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his big band work, Bryant was quite active in the studios and as a jazz educator. Bad health plagued him in the 1990's but he was playing on a parttime basis almost to the end. As a leader, Bryant led big band dates for VeeJay (1961), two for Pacific Jazz in 1969 and one for Cadet (1971) in addition to a sextet set for Cadet in 1967; all are quite difficult to find.
By Scott Yanow