The Ray Bryant Combo - Songs


Ray Bryant (December 24, 1931 - June 2, 2011) was a highly acclaimed and veteran jazz pianist, composer, and arranger with a unique style that combined hard bop, boogie-woogie, gospel, blues, R&B, and soul who became famous during the early 1960s. He is best known for the 1960 smash, "The Madison Time - Part I," as well as such jazz standards as "Cubano Chant."

Born Raphael Homer Bryant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania into a musical family, he began playing the piano as a child and had his first paying gigs at age 12 performing at dances and bars. At 14, he turned professional and joined a local band led by Mickey Collins before touring with guitarist Tiny Grimes in the late 1940s. His career began taking off in 1953 when he became the house pianist at the Blue Note in Philadelphia, backing such top jazz artists as Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. He began in 1955 recording the first in a very long string of albums on such labels as Columbia and Prestige Records, both solo and as a sideman with other artists, and soon after formed his own trio whose members included his brother, bassist Tommy Bryant.

Ray Bryant debuted in 1960 with "Little Susie (Part 4)" (billed as the Ray Bryant Trio), a minor Pop/Rock hit which made the R&B Top 20. His fame took off later that year with "The Madison Time - Part I" (1960) (billed as the Ray Bryant Combo), which became a Top 5 R&B hit and made the Pop/Rock Top 40. This song, which was released in the wake of the Madison dance craze, was later featured in the soundtrack to the 1988 movie, "Hairspray." Ray Bryant's hits also include his instrumental covers of the "Cannonball" Adderley-penned "Sack O' Woe" (1961) and Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe" (1967). The Ray Bryant Combo also provided instrumental backing for Aretha Franklin's eponymous debut album which includes such early hits as "Today I Sing The Blues" (1960) and "Won't Be Long" (1961).

After his peak in commercial fame in the early 1960s, Ray Bryant continued to perform and record actively through the late 2000s. Over the years, he recorded with Benny Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Carmen McRae, and numerous other top jazz artists.



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The Ray Bryant Combo

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