Greg Bryant

Host, Jazz After Hours

Greg Bryant has been a longtime curator of improvisational music. At the age of 3 in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, he was borrowing his father’s records and spinning them on his Fisher Price turntable. Taking in diverse sounds of artistry from Miles Davis, Les McCann, James Brown, Weather Report and Jimi Hendrix gave shape to Greg's musical foundation and started him on a path of nonstop exploration.

He officially began his career as a broadcaster while still in high school at age 14. Greg was given the chance to host a weekly jazz radio show on WFSK-FM, the Fisk University station that served the north Nashville community. Time on weekends was allocated to visiting area record stores and weekly allowances were spent on CD’s and LP's to ensure he kept his show fresh, which grew his music collection immeasurably.

While pursuing a Mass Communications degree at Middle Tennessee State University, Greg quickly earned a position at WMOT-FM, which was Tennessee’s only full-time jazz station and NPR affiliate.

He then moved on to complete a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Between studies every weekend, Greg was a constant presence in such rooms as, The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Orchestra Hall and The Velvet Lounge. This allowed him to meet and hear many of his musical heroes – Lou Donaldson, Sam Rivers, Percy Heath, Clark Terry, Fred Anderson and Jack DeJohnette. While at Northwestern, he also hosted a weekly morning show on WNUR-FM.

At the completion of his studies, Greg returned to Nashville, TN, where he worked in public relations, launched a performance career as a bassist and returned to radio hosting a weekly jazz showcase on WFSK called, “Premium Jazz.” During this tenure, he interviewed such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Sonny Rollins, Bill Stewart, Ron Carter, Ahmad Jamal, Louis Hayes, Freddie Hubbard and Ornette Coleman.

After leaving the station to concentrate on performing and touring as a musician and sideman, Greg cultivated a local concert series where he brought renowned improvisational musicians to the Nashville area including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charlie Hunter, John Ellis, Logan Richardson and Peter Bernstein. To satisfy his continued desire to broadcast, Greg founded a podcast series called, “JazzWatch” where he interviewed musicians and singers such as Cassandra Wilson, Nicholas Payton, Mike Clark, Rene Marie, Harold Mabern, George Cables and Brian Blade among many others.

Greg has carried a love for the New York music scene for most of his life. He has been a frequent visitor to the area as both a performer and as a listener. The community of musicians in the New York/New Jersey area has been particularly inspiring for him. Joining this community as a curator and broadcast host of WBGO Jazz After Hours is a deep honor. He looks forward to hearing and playing music frequently, meeting and interviewing more of the brilliant personalities involved on the scene and winning supporters and listeners for one of the world's most unique art forms.

Ways to Connect

John Abbott

Charles Tolliver has lived his share of jazz history. As a fiery young sideman with Jackie McLean and Max Roach in the 1960s, he joined a lineage of exalted post-bop trumpeters, more than holding his own. But Tolliver also set a model of self-determination in the ‘70s, with a DIY record label called Strata-East.

WBGO

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been sorely missing live music. But in at least one sense, we haven’t lost the experience of real-time musical exchange.

This past February — before the phrase “social distancing” had entered our lexicon — the two of us, Greg Bryant and Nate Chinen, got together to hear some music.

Greg had recently moved up from Nashville to become the host of Jazz After Hours on WBGO. Nate, WBGO’s editorial director, suggested catching a set someplace before the overnight shift, which is how we found ourselves at the Jazz Standard for the Ravi Coltrane Quartet. 

John Rogers

When WBGO Membership Director Roslyn Turner asked me to write a letter to our listeners, I told her immediately that I'd be glad to do it. Funny thing is, I've been intensely pondering for the past few days the words I would offer. What message would I send to you at a time like this?

John Rogers

Quarantine. Lockdowns. Social distancing. As restrictions ease for some and remain for others, what does the new normal look like for concert goers and their audiences? When will the live music experience return in full? 2021? 2022? No answer seems definitive. 

Miles Davis led such a prismatic and changeable career that any attempt at summation is destined to feel incomplete.

But the 2019 documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool does an impressive job of it, portraying the trumpeter in his myriad phases and moods, and in an unvarnished yet sympathetic light.