Biographies J. Tim Brymn, 1881-1946

Image: Cover of Josephine, my Jo
Josephine, my Jo by Jas. T. Brymn (Chicago: Shapiro, Bernstein and Co., [1901]). Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.

James Tim Brymn (1881-1946) was another talented musician and songwriter who took advantage of the rise of the black musical to expand the range of black music. Born in Kingston, North Carolina, Brymn was educated at Shaw University and the National Conservatory of Music in New York

At the age of 19 or 20, Brymn already was a participant in the new black musicals appearing in Manhattan. He contributed "Josephine, My Jo" to Sons of Ham (1900) and became musical director for Williams and Walker's subsequent shows, traveling to England with In Dahomey in 1904. In 1907 he collaborated with Joe Jordan on the musical The Husband. Later, Brymn became the musical director and writer for the Smart Set, an African-American touring ensemble.

During World War I, Brymn led the 350th Field Artillery Regiment, known as the Seventy Black Devils. This band, like James Europe's Hell Fighters, introduced continental Europe to the new sounds of ragtime and proto-jazz.

After the revival of black musicals in 1921, Brymn immediately returned to stage work, appearing in Put and Take and conducting the orchestra for Liza. In 1923 Brymn introduced the "Black Bottom" dance to the world at large as part of the musical Dinah. Brymn also wrote several blues songs during the 1920s blues craze. In the 1930s Brymn conducted American military bands in Europe.

Selected Works at the Library of Congress