206 – John Bryant: The Dallas Scene, Playing with Ray Charles, Teaching Drums and Production, Musical Partnership with Stewart Copeland
John Bryant is a drummer, percussionist, composer, educator, and music producer residing and working in Dallas, Texas. Originally from Virginia, he moved to Dallas and majored in music at the University of North Texas, where he performed and recorded with the One O’Clock Lab Band. He has recorded and/or performed with numerous artists including Ray Charles, Delbert McClinton, Joe Walsh, Lightnin’ Hopkins, the Paul Winter Consort, and Doc Severinsen. Bryant has played, composed and produced music for many different types of projects that include regional artists, touring shows, major motion pictures, and documentary films for PBS and National Geographic. His latest project is playing and co-producing for a new record with Glen Clark, a hit singer/songwriter and veteran of Bonnie Raitt and Delbert McClinton.
Bryant is a founding member of the world music percussion group D’Drum, and acted as producer of the group’s collaboration with composer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Stewart Copeland and the Dallas Symphony on the world premiere of Gamelan D’Drum, a three-movement concerto commissioned for D’Drum.
Bryant has recorded across the country in some of the most important recording studios pivotal to the history of American popular music. These include A & R / Columbia Studios in New York with Phil Ramone, RPM Studios with Ray Charles, and Sound Castle Studios in Los Angeles, Criteria Studios in Miami, The Automatt in San Francisco, Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ardent Recording in Memphis, Arlyn Studios in Austin, and most every recording studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
In this podcast, John talks about:
- The pros and cons of the Dallas scene, and what keeps him and other working musicians there
- Leaving school in the middle of his last semester to join the Paul Winter Consort
- How living and working in Dallas helped him get the gig with Ray Charles
- Dallas’s role in the jingle recording industry
- Teaching drumset and music production at Southern Methodist University, and the role of listening in both
- One of the keys to nailing a style: the balance or “EQ” between the voices of the drumset in that style
- Practicing for coordination/ideas vs. practicing for sound/touch
- Playing with Ray Charles, and his experience as a white musician in that predominantly black band
- His long friendship and musical partnership with Stewart Copeland