Jeanie Bryson Biography

10 May 1958, New York City, New York, USA. The daughter of songwriter-pianist Connie Bryson and Dizzy Gillespie, Jeanie played piano from an early age. Later, she studied extensively at Rutgers, adding flute and ethnomusicology to her attainments. There she came under tuition from Kenny Barron and widened her interest to include singing music of the Far East and the Indian sub-continent. From the start of the 80s, Bryson sang in clubs while working full time for the US Post Office. Towards the end of the decade, she opted for a career in music, thereafter appearing at many east coast venues and also undertaking overseas tours. She has worked with artists such as Terence Blanchard, Grover Washington Jnr. and Marian McPartland, appearing on the latter’s long-running radio show, Piano Jazz, on NPR.

It was not until the early 90s that Bryson’s relationship to Gillespie was made public and, inevitably, this attracted the wrong kind of attention. Subsequently, she has developed her career free from unwanted journalistic prurience. Bryson has an attractive jazz-inflected voice, rather than a true jazz voice, and this, allied as it is to a wide-ranging repertoire that draws from most eras of popular song and jazz, gives her a broader base of audience appeal than would be the case with an out-and-out jazz singer. Bryson’s recordings have benefited from high-quality accompanists, including pianists Barron and Ted Brancato, bass players Christian McBride and Ray Drummond, and horns Wallace Roney and Claudio Rodito. On the 2001 recording Deja Blue some of the songs, including the title track, are her mother’s compositions.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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