Grayson County TXGenWeb
Clora Bryant

From Wikipedia:

Clora Bryant (born May 30, 1927 in Denison, Texas) is a jazz trumpetist. She started in music as a singer in her Baptist church, but took up the trumpet after her brother, Frederick Bryant (born March 21, 1918, who currently resides in Lawton, Oklahoma), left it on going to the Army in 1941. She studied improvisation using a wire recorder to record her own soloing along with jazz records, and studying the results. She became adept at a variety of genres, from jazz to classical, and performing versions of famous jazz solos of the day. In addition, she honed her own unique improvisational skills in jam sessions along Central Avenue in Los Angeles, the center of the mid-forties West Coast African American jazz scene.

Clora Bryant performed in high school bands, and in the early 1940s toured Texas with an all-female band, the Prairie View Co-Eds. The Prairie View Co-Eds went to New York in 1944 for a successful gig at the Apollo Theater, where Clora Bryant scored a hit with the song "I Had the Craziest Dream" with her version of a solo by trumpeter Harry James.

Clora Bryant also spent a week at the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles with the legendary all-female orchestra International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and in 1948 she toured with the all-female, all Black Queens of Swing. In 1948 Clora married, Joe Stone, who was a bassist, who played with a lot of R&B bands, and they started a family. Clora continue to perform while pregnant and as a young mother. Later she attended UCLA, where she became influenced by bebop and gained the attention of Dizzy Gillespie. She was the only female musician to perform with Charlie Parker, at the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, California. Later she toured with singers Billy Daniels and Billy Williams.

Her album Gal with a Horn was released in 1957 and in the mid-1960s she briefly did duo work with her brother, who was a vocalist. She took time off to raise her four children.

She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and later became the first American female jazz musician to play in the Soviet Union on a request from Mikhail Gorbachev.

After a heart attack in 1996, she was unable to play, but she still sings and lectures on jazz.


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