Willie Bryant & His Orchestra

Decades: 1990s


30 August 1908, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, d. 9 February 1964, Los Angeles, California, USA. Starting out as a singer and dancer, Bryant worked extensively in vaudeville during the 20s and early 30s. At one time he partnered Bessie Smith and sang with Buck And Bubbles. In 1934 from the remnants of the Benny Carter orchestra, he formed a big band that stayed in existence for four years, enjoying some success with engagements at the Savoy Ballroom. After it folded, he returned to work on the stage and on radio. In 1946 Bryant re-formed his band, which this time lasted only two years. Although his indifferent singing was heavily promoted, performances by Bryant’s bands were always interesting because he hired outstanding jazz players. Among his sidemen were Carter, Cozy Cole, Eddie Durham, David ‘Panama’ Francis, Taft Jordan, Ben Webster and Teddy Wilson. Unfortunately, the group’s potential was never fully realized, largely because he depended...

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