Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is a prolific and eclectic composer, pianist, and arranger. Her overall ambition in life is the "creation of uninhibited beauty." Her compositions are wide-ranging, including Solo Works, Jazz Quartet, Jazz Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, and even collaborations of dancers, visual artists, writers, and actors.
Courtney Bryan currently performs in and around New York with the Courtney Bryan Trio at venues like St. Nick's Pub, Nuyorican Poets Café, The Jazz Spot, Cecil's Jazz Club, A Gathering of Tribes Gallery, and Casa Frela Gallery. The Courtney Bryan Trio has also headlined at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Sweet Lorraine's Jazz Club of New Orleans, Louisiana. Courtney Bryan co-leads Duet, with vocalist TreZure Mone performing a mix of Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. She co-developed and co-leads the Courtney Bryan/Ez Weiss Jazz Orchestra in New York, a Big Band organization that is composed of volunteer musicians who are particularly interested in the revival of Big Band. Courtney works frequently with Rome Neal and the Marvtastic Ladies. In addition, she freelances with various jazz and R & B artists.
Recently, the Courtney Bryan Trio featuring saxophonist Donald Harrison opened for the Curtis Fuller/Louis Hayes Quintet and the Chico Hamilton Sextet at the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. Also, Courtney performed as part of Stanley Cowell's Piano Choir in the spring of 2006. Courtney's compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center’s Rose Studio and commissioned by Cleveland State University's Jazz Heritage Orchestra, Dennis Reynolds’s Brass Choir, Conrad Herwig's Scarlet Knight Trombone Ensemble, and by saxophonist Devin Phillips for his 2006 release Wade in the Water, which was titled after her arrangement. She was featured as composer with Kathy Randel's Artspotproductions in The New Orleans Suite performed at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005. Courtney was also recently a finalist in the Beyonce Knowles All-Girl Band competition for her B-Day tour. Courtney Bryan has recently released her debut recording entitled Quest for Freedom featuring famed trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Quest for Freedom is for sale on www.courtneybryan.com.
Courtney, a proud graduate of the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Jazz Camp of New Orleans, has academic degrees from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) '00, Oberlin Conservatory '04 (bachelors in music composition), Rutgers University '07 (masters in jazz piano). Currently, Courtney is a Faculty Fellow at Columbia University of New York pursuing a doctorate of musical arts in music composition.
Courtney was featured along with Jason Marsalis and Irvin Mayfield in Geoffrey Poister's documentary Jazz Dreams. Courtney Bryan has performed in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2000-2002, in the Detroit Ford International Jazz Festival 2003 and 2004, in the Lansing Jazz Festival 2004, and in the Detroit Taste Fest 2005. She has also performed at the Cleveland Bop Stop and Nighttown of Cleveland, Ohio; the Serengeti Gallery of Detroit, Michigan, among other venues. In 2002, Bryan was selected as a NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) All-Star along with such musicians as Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Adonis Rose, and Clyde Kerr, Jr.
Quest for Freedom features all original music. Generation Y shows a heavy New Orleans music influence with the "second-line groove" underneath the contrapuntal lines of the piano. For Wayne was written for Wayne Shorter in Bryan's junior year of high school at NOCCA. Love is a ballad influenced by soul music as well as jazz. City Called Heaven is Bryan's rendition of the Negro Spiritual by that same name that talks of a better life after life. For the One Who Planted Roses in my Heart is a touching love ballad. Quest for... is an aggresive quest while Footsteps of a Queen is a dedication to Bryan's late aunt Dr. Alma Harrington-Young. Freedom I is an original poem of Bryan's followed by the album's anthemn Freedom II. Quest for Freedom features her mentor, famed trumpeter Marcus Belgrave.