Article from UCLA Magazine:
| alumni profile |
GERRY BRYANT J.D. '81, M.B.A. '81
Counselor at the keyboard
As Gerry Bryant was playing "God Bless the Child" on the piano in the lobby of UCLA's 200 Medical Plaza Building, a man behind him with a good voice started singing along to the soulful Billie Holiday number. It was David Crosby, the folk rocker who had previously received a liver transplant there.
Afterward, the two started chatting. "The whole conversation
was about how important music is to life and one's health, and that he was glad to hear some good music being played in the hospital." Bryant says.
Having performed with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Les McCann and Carl Anderson, Bryant is equally pleased to spend two or three afternoons a week as one of 10 volunteers who regularly entertain UCLA patients waiting for their medical appointments.
Bryant's eclectic repertoire for the Medical Center over the last year has brought a similarly diverse range of reactions. One woman started screaming when he played her favorite song just after she learned of her long-awaited pregnancy, and a man asked the pianist if he would play a little night music at his ladies-of-the-night establishment.
The West Los Angeles-area resident has been at the keyboard since his boyhood in Cleveland, first taking up classical and then jazz piano, and playing professionally by the time he was a teenager. Yet he was still able to dedicate himself to academics, graduating cum laude from both Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, and Harvard University, and going on to receive his joint UCLA degrees.
Bryant was drawn to law and business in part so that he could handle his own contracts and produce his own records. His first CD, recorded with his group, Pocketwatch, is expected to be released by spring 2000. Corporations, other musicians and artists are among Bryant's legal clients, and he serves on the board of California Lawyers for the Arts. In between, he writes a column on real-estate law for the Los Angeles Daily Commerce and has acted in more than 30 episodes of Divorce Court.
But making music remains the high note of his life. "When you know that you've really touched someone, there's no greater feeling in the world." Bryant says.
— Robin Heffler