Gerry Bryant has been described by many as a renaissance man. Multi-talented Bryant graduated cum laude from both Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard, and received two graduate degrees (J.D. & M.B.A.) from UCLA. His musical influences range from masters of the Romantic Period in classical music (in particular Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff), to jazz legends Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington, to contemporary pianists Keith Jarrett and Ramsey Lewis. He describes his original music as “Third Stream,” a term coined in 1957 by composer Gunther Schuller to describe a musical genre that is a synthesis of classical music and jazz.
Bryant has had extensive classical training since childhood, first with Ethel Morton, the highly respected local piano teacher in Bryant’s hometown of Cleveland OH, and then with Albion Metcalf of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, who had studied under the world renown Tobias Mattay of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Later, as a young adult, Bryant began broadening his musical vocabulary by immersing himself in and teaching himself how to play and compose many other musical genres.
In addition to the two albums of timely and timeless original music and jazz standards featuring his jazz group, PocketWatch, Bryant has recorded 10 primarily solo piano albums of classical music, original compositions, and of uniquely arranged and reimagined pop tunes and standards, many of which have received critical acclaim from noted classical music and jazz reviewers. He is currently working on a series of albums of music by immensely talented Black classical music composers who have been largely unrecognized historically, the first of which, entitled THE COMPOSERS, was recently released by Navona Records.
Whilst Bryant has found success as a solo musician, playing gigs in venues large and small on both coasts, according to him, the most rewarding experiences he has had come from volunteering to play piano for patients at the UCLA Medical Center, which he did weekly for many years. Patients would always come up to him during and after performances thanking him, often crying or offering their personal stories about the music he had played. Why? His answer is simple: “Music is healing.” In one instance, a woman screamed and ran up to him during a performance. The song he was playing was the same one that played during her wedding, and with her husband being in the hospital at that time, Bryant’s rendition had made her emotional.
In Bryant’s own words: “Sharing your artistic talent/gift with others to uplift, inspire, entertain, enlighten, etc., whenever, however and wherever you can, is what your gift is for and what life is all about. The reward to the performer/artist is much more meaningful and valuable than anything monetary. And it takes little effort.”