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Bryant, Clora

toured band black trumpet

Bryant, Clora, jazz trumpeter, singer; b. Denison, Tex., May 30, 1929. Her mother died when she was about three years old, and her father raised her and her siblings. The entire family was musical: her father whistled and performed birdcalls; her mother was a singer; and her brother Fred played trumpet and brother Mel was a singer/dancer. She began playing trumpet, studying on her own and in school; by her last year of high school, she was in a school dance band. In September 1943, she attended Prairie View State Coll. because of their all-black female band, the Prairie View Coll. Co-eds. She joined the band, and in the summer of 1944 toured the U.S., including an appearance as the headline group at the Apollo in Harlem. In January 1945, she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked with a black swing combo that played at a white club in Norwalk. Soon, she was playing trumpet in an all-black woman quintet called the Queens of Swing, which included saxophonist Minnie Hightower. They toured throughout the west and northwest. By early 1946, she had returned to Los Angeles to join the Darlings of Rhythm, an all-woman big band that had been founded by Clarence Love in 1944. She married in 1948; her husband, bassist Joe Stone, was often on the road with T-Bone Walker and Jimmy Witherspoon, while she jammed and gigged around Los Angeles. During the late 1950s and 1960s, she toured major U.S. cities, often performing her tribute to Louis Armstrong. In Las Vegas, she worked behind Damita Jo, Harry James, and Sammy Davis Jr., accompanying Davis in the film Pepe (1960). In the early 1960s, she also played a stint in New Orleans with Horace Henderson’s band. She toured with Billy Williams (c. 1962-64) and with her brother, actor and singer Mel Bryant (c. 1964-66). When her fourth child was born in 1969, she began attending UCLA to study music especially black music history, working on and off toward a B.A. She composed the suite “To Dizzy with Love” (1975) and has won two NEA awards for composition and performance. Around 1980, she had taken over the late Blue Mitchell’s chair in Bill Berry’s big band. She toured Europe with Johnny Otis and Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham, and toured Russia in 1989. In 1993 she directed and performed in memory of Gillespie at a Trumpet Summit along with Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, Freddie Hubbard, and others.

Bryant, William Cullen - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: William Cullen Bryant [next] [back] Bryant, Boudleaux (Diadorius) and Felice (Matilda Geneviève Scaduto)

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