A talented pianist who made an impact at a young age, Ronnel Bright has had compositions recorded by Sarah Vaughan, Cal Tjader, Horace Silver and Blue Mitchell, and collaborated with lyricist Johnny Mercer.
Born in Chicago, IL (July 3, 1930), he won a piano competition at nine and played with The Chicago Youth Piano Symphony Orchestra in 1944. Bright attended Juilliard and graduated in the early '50s, playing his first jazz dates with a navy band. He later worked in Chicago with bassist Johnny Tate and was Carmen McRae's accompanist in the mid-'50s. Bright moved to New York in 1955, then performed and recorded with Rolf Kuhn and formed his own trio in 1957.
He played in Dizzy Gillespie's big band in 1957 and 1958, and was accompanist and conductor for Vaughan, Lena Horne and Gloria Lynne at various times during the late '50s and early '60s. He became Nancy Wilson's arranger,...