At the start of his career the great guitarist Kenny Burrell wrote, “Freddie Bryant is a brilliant young guitarist and composer.” Since then he has shown his versatile skills in jazz, classical, Brazilian and other world genres. Freddie is currently in demand in the New York jazz scene. He worked with Ben Riley for over a decade with the Monk Legacy Septet (Memories of T on Concord Records) and The Ben Riley Quartet (Grown Folks Music on Sunnyside Records). He has been a member of the Mingus Orchestra since the millennium and has toured and recorded with Tom Harrell (Paradise on RCA). His own group, KALEIDOSCOPE whose CD, Live Grooves…Epic Tales is on the HiPNOTIC record label features grooves from around the world including Brazil, Cuba and New Orleans as well as influences from blues, gospel, India and the Middle-East.
His latest CD Monk Restrung is an exciting project featuring the compositions of Thelonious Monk with Freddie’s trio of guitar, bass and drums with guest appearances of three of the finest guitarists in jazz: Howard Alden, Peter Bernstein and Romero Lubambo.
2014 marked the release of Bryant’s seventh CD, Dreamscape: Solo, Duo, Trio which features the stellar cast of Chris Potter – reeds and Scott Colley – bass as well as the leader playing four guitars: Telecaster, Jazz arch-top, classical and 12-string. Jazz writer Bill Milkowski wrote: “Imbued with Bryant’s inimitable touch, inherent soulfulness and the element of surprise, Dreamscape: Solo-Duo-Trio is also marked by the guitarist’s ability to seamlessly traverse the classical-jazz divide on this collection of jazz standards and compelling originals.”
Freddie has also had the honor of touring with three legends of the music world: African singer, Salif Keita, the virtuoso klezmer clarinetist, maestro Giora Feidman and the jazz trumpet great, Tom Harrell (as a member of his quintet, 1999-2001). He has recorded and/or played with D.D. Jackson, Steve Wilson, Kevin Hays, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, bassist Avishai Cohen, Rosanna Vitro, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila Jordan, Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, Joshua Redman, Wynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Lonnie Smith and many others. He is also on the first call list of many singers and Brazilian musicians because of his sensitive accompanying and his knowledge of Brazilian guitar and has toured with pianist/singer Eliane Elias.
Over the years he has toured in 55 countries and has had the opportunity of collaborating with musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds including the Indian sitarist, Shubhendra Rao, the Kenyan singers, Achien’g Abura, Suzanna Owiyo, the Taarab master oud player Zein L’abdin and traditional groups in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. In 2006 he performed in Cuba as a solo artist and spent a week of musical exchange with Cuban musicians including the trumpet player, “El Greco” formerly of Irakere. He has toured as a cultural ambassador for The U.S. Department of State numerous times and performed at the Kennedy Center with the Billy Taylor Trio appearing on National Public Radio Show, “Live at the Kennedy Center.”
His previous CDs as a leader include: Brazilian Rosewood, Boogaloo Brasileiro, Live at Smoke (Fresh Sound Records) and Take Your Dance into Battle (Jazz City Spirit). He has two group-titled CDs with collaborative groups: Trio del Sol with Misha Piatogorsky and Gilad and Dharma Jazz with Lewis Porter, Badal Roy and Karttikeya.
Education has always been a large part of his musical life. He received his BA from Amherst College, ’87 and Master’s degree in classical guitar from the Yale School of Music, ’94. He has taught all ages from young children to university students and has lectured about jazz to audiences around the world. In 2004 he was chosen to be a Copeland Fellow at Amherst after which he was a visiting lecturer at Williams College in Africana Studies and Music from 2006-2011.
Bryant is on the faculties of Berklee College of Music and Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland. 2017 saw the world premier at the London Human Rights Watch Film Festival of Complicit with his music score. He is a recipient of the CMA New Jazz Works Composition Grant, 2019 and the resulting piece will be an epic work for 9 piece jazz ensemble, singer and children’s chorus to be premiered in 2020 featuring an all-star cast of Regina Carter, Donny McCaslin, Steve Wilson, Akua Dixon, Gwen Laster and vocalist, Carla Cook.
Freddie has also been incorporating his practice of taiji (tai chi) and qigong into his teaching in workshops around the world (Holland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Vermont and Massachusetts).
“Guitarist Freddie Bryant is a rhythmic and melodic sponge. Put him in any musical situation, be it classical, jazz, funk, Senegalese, etc., and he’ll tend to become one with the music.” — Jason Koransky, www.downbeatjazz.com