THE FIRST THE BEST NEVER DUPLICATED HISTORIC
Guitarist - recording artist - song writer
Ivy J. Bryant, Jr. (nickname Buddy) was born March 5, 1925, in Moultrie, Georgia, the oldest of 12 children. His father, John Bryant, was a sharecropper who loved music and played several instruments. Young Jimmy showed an interest in music at an early age, so his father built him a fiddle, taught his son to play and had him on stage at the age of 6. As a child, in the 1930s, the child prodigy played on street corners to earn money to help support his family during the Great Depression years.
Severely wounded in the latter phase of the Second World War, while serving in Patton's, Third Army, Bryant was transferred back to the states where he recovered from his injuries at a Washington D.C. hospital. Upon recovery, he was assigned to the Army's Special Service Unite as a musician. There was a special need for qualified guitar players, so Jimmy bought a Stella guitar and taught himself to play the popular songs of the the day, and developed a fondness for Jazz music, especially the guitar style of Django Reinhardt.
He quickly mastered the instrument, and upon discharged from the army, moved to California, determined to make playing the guitar his career. In the late 1940s, he found work in L.A. clubs, and spent countless hours in jam sessions, where he met Speedy West, a peddle steel guitar wizard making a name for himself as a session player.
Bryant soon joined West as a guitarist on the Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree radio show. With his blazing country-jazz style, Bryant became a fixture in the recording business in the 1950s. He worked sessions with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Gene Autrey, The Monkees, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and other big name artist of the day. He made TV appearances and gained a reputation as being a musicians's musician. For a time he worked with the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers' back up band. He was one of the first country players to use the staple of modern country music, the 'chicken pickin' technique, later made popular by one of his earliest fans, British guitarist Albert Lee.
Bryant had a gift for melody and sense of performance that made the most complicated technique look simple; he played every note clean with absolute precision. With his lightening speed and jazz-fueled taste for improvisation, he was never a conformist, constantly finding new ways to play an arrangement, and under the restraints of studio sessions, considered difficult to work with.
Jimmy Bryant's best remembered recordings were in collaboration with his life-long friend, Speedy West. Their Capitol recording '2 Guitars Country Style' (album EAP 1-520) is an unforgettable accomplishment of alternating solos, and amazing dextrous technique that complimented each artist's unique style. West was unexcelled on the peddle steel guitar; Jimmy, tops on the 'standard take off', country/jazz style.
Bryant was an accomplished songwriter and pinned Waylon Jennings hit single, 'The Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line'.
In 1967, he showcased his unique style when he was featured on the Guitar Phonics, Liberty Records album, 'Play Country Guitar With Jimmy Bryant'.
Jimmy Bryant had an impressive recording career, recording hundreds of songs demonstrating his signature fret-blazing guitar work, as both a solo artist and session musician. From his brilliant harmonics, blazing speed, and wonderful sense for beautiful melody, Jimmy Bryant was an outstanding musician and guitarist.
Jimmy Bryant passed away on September 22, 1980.
Wilbur M. Savidge Donald W. Blocker Chet Atkins The Ventures
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