KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How many jazz musicians can you name? When’s the last time you’ve gone to a jazz concert?
Kansas City is known internationally as a jazz music mecca. However, many people who live here can’t remember the last time they’ve actually listened to the music. Some have never even gone to a performance, even though several clubs have live jazz every night of the week.
This says a lot for anyone who is trying to make it big in a musical genre that, though once considered pop music, has fallen out of the mainstream. It says even more that Blair Bryant is doing just that.
Building off of more than 100 years of music history, Blair Bryant is a young jazz musician in an old genre’s world. However, he’s creating something new and all his own, pulling from both the roots of the once-popular jazz era as well as from modern influences and his own creativity.
Bryant told FOX4 that he has been playing instruments since he was a toddler at church. Music runs deep in his family, and when his bass-playing uncle died, he took up the mantle.
His music deeply pulls from jazz fusion, a genre developed in the latter half of the 20th Century as a combination of jazz and rock. As electric instruments became more integrated into popular music, jazz began to reflect some of the changes in technology.
“Jazz fusion is basically like rock with the electric guitars and the synthesizers,” Bryant said. “I’m just really inspired by that kind of music and how it allowed [fusion musicians] to be so free but also play real jazz on top of it.”
Today, the 25-year-old already has four albums, several radio singles, and has gotten major attention from some of Kansas City’s most prominent publications. He’s even coming out with another album, set to debut in 2020.
Listen to Bryant talk about his beginnings, his struggles and a condition that helps him see the color of the music around him in the full episode.
Listen to more incredible musicians in other episodes of the Crazeology podcast.