Rusty Bryant (1929-1991) was one of the funkier saxophonists of the late 1960s/early ’70s when electronic soul-jazz was at the height of its popularity. He was equally skilled on tenor and alto, also utilizing the Varitone sax on a couple of his albums during his peak years.
Bryant grew up in Columbus, Ohio, working locally by the mid-1940s and considering Gene Ammons to be his main influence. Bryant, who played tenor exclusively during this period, worked with Tiny Grimes and Stomp Gordon before starting to lead his own bands in 1952. He had a hit with an extended version of "All Night Long” (which was really an adaptation of "Night Train”) and toured the country until deciding to resettle in Columbus and just work locally.
Bryant did not record at all during 1958-1967 but reemerged in 1969 when he began recording regularly for Prestige. He cut eight albums for the label during 1969-1974, seven of which are available as Rusty Bryant Returns, Legends of Acid Jazz (which brings back Night Train Now and Soul Liberation), Legends of Acid Jazz, vol. 2 (a reissue of Fire Eater and Wildflower) and For the Good Times (which has the complete contents of For the Good Times and Until It’s Time for You to Go). Throughout these funky outings, Bryant plays with soul, sensitivity, swing, and plenty of heartfelt feeling.
After his last Prestige date in 1974, Rusty Bryant returned to his hometown of Columbus, becoming semi-active during his later years while still being remembered for his popular recordings.