Melanie Jones Bryson
Melanie Jones Bryson of El Cerrito, California passed away on October 21, 2019. Born on January 4, 1964, in Richlands, Virginia, she was the daughter of James H. and Patty C. Jones of Bluefield, Virginia.
A musical prodigy who wrote her first symphony at age 3, she was a piano student of Pat Feuchtenberger from age 5 to age 17. She graduated from Graham High School and later studied at Berkelee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Melanie's true musical love was jazz. She was a world-class jazz musician, working with artists including Joe Henderson and Donald Byrd. Her love of jazz led her to the love of her life, Kent Bryson, a fellow jazz musician. The were married in 1993 and are the parents of a cherished daughter, Chelsey Jones Bryson and beloved son, Sam Gilligan Bryson.
Melanie played with White Heat in Boston, the Napa Symphony in California and musical theater productions in San Francisco, California, including the shows Mamma Mia, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, and Rent, for which she also conducted. She worked for eight months with the original composers and cast of Wicked before it's premier on the Broadway stage in New York City. She was a prolific composer/arranger, including composer and arranger credits on the film "All the Vermeers in New York."
Multiple Sclerosis forced her early retirement from professional music at age 40. Later in life she found a passion for geology, and was the recipient of a seismograph granted by the U.S. Geological Service, the only such award for a private residence. Her most recent role was as devoted activist for local and national issues. Of her many roles, among her favorites was that of beloved family member, generous friend and loving pet parent.
Melanie was preceded in death by her mother, Patty Cole Jones, and in-laws, Robert and Barbara Bryson. She is survived by her husband, Kent Bryson, of El Cerrito, California; her daughter, Chelsey Bryson, of Honolulu, Hawaii; her son, Sam Bryson, of Oakland, California; her father, James Jones, of Bluefield, Virginia; her sister, Julia Jones and her husband, Bachir Mihoubi, of Atlanta, Georgia; her brother-in-law Forest Bryson and his wife, Gretchen, of Occidental, California; her sister-in-law Candra Bryson of Roanoke, Virginia; her cousin, Martha Jones Chaffins of Bluefield, Virginia, and extended family and friends too numerous to mention who brought her great happiness and joy.
A service celebrating Melanie's life will be held at First United Methodist Church in Bluefield, Virginia on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The American Lung Association and Save the Music Foundation.
Published on November 13, 2019


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Showing 10 of 10 posts

Jack Dorsey
Dec 10, 2019
So sorry to hear about Melanie’s passing. We played together on some gigs in the ‘80s and I found her to be a wonderful person and a brilliant musician. She will be missed.
marco volpe
Nov 18, 2019
I knew Melanie from the Berklee days. She was beautiful, a wonderful person and a very talented musician. Unfortunately, I haven't seen her since, but this news really saddened me deeply.
Nov 18, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Melanie Jones Bryson.  Plant a tree
Robin Noda
Nov 17, 2019
I am so sorry to hear that Mel has left us. I knew her by way of our work together on Indivisible CA-11. She was a person committed to fighting the good fight, for what was right and just. I had no idea she was an accomplished musician with so much success. She will be greatly missed.
George McRae
Nov 17, 2019
We knew Mel for only a short time, but fell in love with her. She was a force of nature, and a terrific friend. Only a few times in life do you find a diamond like Mel. Her passing is devastating. We will try and live by her example.
Margaret A. Pack
Nov 16, 2019
So very sorry for your loss.
Karen Walker Wasilewski
Nov 16, 2019
God rest her soul. I was a student of both her parents and Remember her coming to some of the games. She was so beautiful. May the family Rest In Peace together her with her parents. Condolences to her family.
Rose Carter
Nov 15, 2019
Fond memories of hearing her perform with her sister Julia on many occasions and especially Christmas Services at First United Methodists Church Bluefield VA. Sorry for the loss to this beautiful family. May she Rest In Peace.
Michaela Rosenblatt
Nov 15, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Melanie Jones Bryson.  Plant a tree
Nov 15, 2019