Bryant, Willie [William Steven ]
[William Steven ]
(b New Orleans, Aug 30, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 9, 1964). American bandleader and singer. He began his career as a soft-shoe dancer in 1926 and toured extensively as a dancer and singer until 1933. From 1934 to 1938 and again from 1945 to 1948 he led his own big band, which at times in the mid-1930s included Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson (both of whom contributed arrangements), Ben Webster, Cozy Cole, Edgar Battle, Taft Jordan, and Glyn Paque. The band’s compelling swing may be heard on A Viper’s Moan and Bryant’s sentimental style of singing on his own composition It’s over because we’re through (both 1935, Vic. 24858). Bryant later worked as master of ceremonies for radio broadcasts from the Apollo Theatre in New York, and as a disc jockey, an actor, and a radio announcer; he may be seen in two episodes of the television series “Showtime at the Apollo” (...