Bryan Dean Trio
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Bryan Dean Trio

Marana, Arizona, United States | SELF

Marana, Arizona, United States | SELF
Band Blues Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Bryan Dean Trio"

The Bryan Dean Trio is Tucson based and consists of three uniquely talented musicians: Bryan Dean (guitar and vocals), Ralph Gilmore (drums and vocals), and KOKO (bass guitar and vocals). Bryan is the songwriter for the group. Since 2005, the band has performed hundreds of shows ranging from bars, restaurants, resort pools and featured concerts. The trio is known for their blues-based sound that can morph, at any moment, into an organic funky, jazzy frenzy. Their heavily improvised music makes every show a new experience. The trio won the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Challenge in September of 2010. They represented SABHF to compete in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in February 2011 and returned semi-finalists using their originals. Bryan Dean and Ralph Gilmore were inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame in 2010.

The music of the Bryan Dean Trio could be described as blues, but not just “classical” blues. They work elements of jazz, R&B, funk, rock, country and even punk in as well, and they consider it “wide spectrum” blues. No two performances ever sound alike. This is because their music is sometimes heavily improvised, created on the spot. If one member of the group goes off on a tangent, the others will follow. The trio says this is because they don't discuss the show beforehand, what it will be and how it will sound. They also change songs between performances, so the way you hear a song in one show may be different than the way you hear it in another. The trio does occasionally play covers, but usually they don't sound the same as the original artist did them. The trio doesn't play them note-for-note, but instead changes them to fit their style and sound.

Bryan grew up in a musical family (his father was a jazz drummer). He picked up the guitar when he was 16, found he had a knack for it, and never put it down. Bryan and KOKO met more or less by accident. Bryan was playing guitar in one band, and KOKO was playing bass in another. One night they played in venues across the street from each other. During his break Bryan walked over and saw KOKO perform. He liked what he saw. Not long after that KOKO went with a friend to see the legendary Sam “Bluzman” Taylor. Bryan was his guitarist. She liked what she saw. They got to know each other, and were married in 2001.

The Bryan Dean Trio was born in 2005. Both Brian and KOKO had worked with drummer Ralph Gilmore before. Ralph, a former Grass Roots drummer, agreed to join them. All three were experienced professional musicians, and they had no worries about the quality of the music they could produce. Bryan had been performing live music for about 29 years, and Ralph about the same. They started out playing in restaurants and bars, playing mostly covers. Then they expanded into other venues, notably their poolside performances at local resort hotels. As they became featured performers at concerts and festivals they switched over to using more of their original songs. Their fans reacted well to this. But it wasn't a smooth road to the top. As Bryan says, “We've done our share of honky-tonks, 12:30 am on Tuesdays with flat liners at the counter. You have to do a certain amount of these kind of gigs before you can call yourself a "pro musician," right?”

If you ask the trio why they play live local music you will get a few answers. Bryan says, sarcastically, he does it or the “women and piles of cash.” In a more serious vein, he says they do it “To "keep the blues alive" as Sam Taylor said,” and to “make people aware of our brand of contemporary blues.” Bryan also says playing live was addicting, and he says it still is. He further says he likes to play live because he and the others can improvise, which he likes to do.

The Bryan Dean Trio plays their "home" gig at Boondocks Lounge during “Playing Blues and Mama's Meatloaf Monday.” They play there every Monday (except for the fifth Monday of the month if there is one), early evening, 6-8pm. Their next featured show on the calendar is Music on the Mountain Series, on June 26, starting at noon. They are also scheduled to open the Bisbee Blues Festival on September 17th, 2011. They often get last minute gigs so check their website for updates ( - Don R. Martin

"Favorite New Local CD: "Pink Elephant" by the Bryan Dean Trio"

"This is the best concert we've had up here," noted a member of the Oro Valley Arts Council after listening to the Bryan Dean Trio rock the crowd in the plaza at La Encantada. Bryan is a 25 year veteran of the Tucson blues scene, and has played with both Bobby and Sam Taylor, Tony and the Torpedoes, and recently with Grams and Krieger. He is joined on the CD and on stage by drummer Ralph Gilmore and bassist Koko, his lovely and talented wife, who provide a solid rhythmic backline behind the blazing lead guitar. "Pink Elephant" came out in 2007 and has been frequently featured on KXCI's "Locals Only" show. The CD includes 8 original songs and 4 covers, and showcases Bryan's inventive and sometimes humorous songwriting as well as his seasoned musicianship. The musical style has a powerful blues beat laced with jazz-inspired improvisation and a strong dose of acid rock to keep it kickin'. My favorite cover on the CD is the classic "Thirteen Women" by the late Dickie Thompson.

Bryan has been married to Koko for 7years now, and first saw her when she had come from Japan as a student and was playing bass with a band on the street downtown. Three weeks later she came into a Sam Taylor gig where Bryan was playing and he had the opportunity to talk to her. He says she is "the most improved player I know" and besides ably backing up her husband, she is often called to the stage during the Wednesday night jam sessions with Deacon at the Hut on 4th Avenue to back up whoever signs up to play that night, and shows a remarkable ability to hold down thebottom behind a variety of lead players. So if you pop into a jam session and see a bass player with raven hair long enought to sit on and a driving bass line, you'll know that you're having the good fortune to hear Koko Dean.

Bryan Dean and Ralph Gilmore will be the friends playing with Steve Grams and Danny Krieger as "Grams and Krieger and Friends" at the 2008 Blues Heritage Festival. "Pink Elephant" will be on sale at the festival in the Zia Record booth, at performances of the Bryan Dean Trio, and through the group's web site

(Written by Chars Rogers, Fall 2008) - Chars Rogers

"Bryan Dean Trio Pink Elephant"

Since starting my position here at Damn Good Tunes, I have been hit up by an incalculable amount of bands. I know, I know... We all get friend requests with the slip- mentioning of the "greatest hot new tracks", but this has been a truly insane experience for me.
Just before I started writing reviews, I had gone through and deleted a rather large bundle of bands from my Myspace, due to the simple fact that I couldn't even get to them all,so that I could listen to their over-promoted new songs.
The whole thing felt like Mickey trying to destroy his mop in Fantasia. Suddenly, there were hundreds, coming from every angle, with their water buckets ready to get down to business..

Most groups sensed I still have Rock in my soul, and therefore, this was the dominant genre who contacted me for reviews. Not that I mind at all, of course. It happens to be one of the greater perks to this business for me....However, screaming guitars and slamming drums aren't always as soothing as it once was in the past. Nowadays, I enjoy just about everything. Hell, 6 beers down, you can get me to dance to Polka in the Park. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's music.

After months of constant invites, I eventually received a letter from a man by the name of Bryan Dean, of the "Bryan Dean Trio". He wanted to know if he can send me a cd to review. I give him all the information, just as any other inquiring musician, and I check out his page. My ears were instantly relieved! My brain must have been grateful as well, because the headache I was struggling with finally faded. This band was playing the Blues, and it was exceptionally impressive.

The Trio consists of Koko, a former graduate of the University of Arizona-turned Badass-Bassist, as well as Bryan Dean's beautiful wife of 8 years. Also, Ralph Gilmore, former Grass Roots drummer, and one of the most sought out percussionists in Arizona. Bryan Dean (lead vocals/guitar), says that he considers himself lucky to know Gilmore on a personal level. Both Gilmore and Koko are regarded highly by Dean, and are considered the true foundation of the trio.

When I received Pink Elephant, I literally ran to the studio and played it immediately....only slightly backwards. The first thing I noticed? The final track is a remake of Jay Hawkins' ," I Put A Spell On You", one of my favorite songs of all time. This was going to be a huge factor for me..... The result? This trio pulled it off brilliantly! I was absolutely blown away. It seemed, at that point, that this just could not get any better. Then, the album automatically started over at the beginning...

Now, the Bryan Dean Trio do have a few other covers, such as Dickie Thomson's "Thirteen Women", which is somewhat of an unusual novelty tune about the aftermath of an atomic holocaust that leaves one man and 13 women alive. This particular song, at one point was considered controversial due to the blasphemous fantasy of having an entourage of beautiful women...
( Hugh must have missed the memo..)
The song was re-written several times to appease the "Industry Gods", but as time went by, and people were less uptight, the original became more acceptable. It was released in 1954 and more recognized as Bill Haley's attempt at breaking away from Rock and Roll. Although Haley's version is laid back, Bryan Dean speeds things up a bit, adding a slight "Jump, Jive, and Wail" feel to it. This song, performed by BDT is definitely not your typical karaoke-sounding replica. They have an extraordinary way of making every one of the cover songs their own.

Let's not focus on what covers that the Bryan Dean Trio can play though. I want to bring your attention to the original works. One of my absolute favorites is the second song on the Pink Elephant album, titled "Keep Walking". It's about that point in the relationship where things are just not worth putting the broken pieces back together. With the constant threats of "her" leaving "him" behind, he finally says...
I have a great respect for people who can write off the negative sources in their lives and transform them into something poetic. That, to me, is one of the main reasons for music.

Other great originals include, " My Baby Don't Like Me No More", "I Don't Know Why","Bad News", and "Have Mercy", which, sorry to my fellow ladies out there, we do nag...don't deny it. We're professionals, and we enjoy it.
This song is a mere glance at the annoyances it brings to the opposite sex. I find it hilarious, but it also makes me think twice about yelling when my man wrinkles the couch cover after working all day. So what if the pillows aren't set up the way you so-perfectly placed them! They are JUST PILLOWS! Have Mercy!

All in all, Pink Elephant is Pretty Damn Good. If I were to administer stars, I would give Bryan Dean Trio 4 out of 5, but only because some of the songs are not actually written by anyone in the Bryan Dean Trio. However, the covers are done with such an original concepts, that it doesn't even matter. All in all, the entire album is like an addictive, magical music pill. You are taken into this world of sorrow, despair, misery and woe, the basis of the Blues, and ironically you become intoxicated by a feeling of euphoria, joy and inspiration.This in turn causes you to play the album constantly, as you feel you can never get enough, and you may eventually experience the skipping-around of your favorite track. You may start noticing at this point that you too, have become a BDT addict. Once you start throwing things around looking for a wonder cure,(i.e clear-gel deodorant or that melted tube of Chapstick you swear you saw in the car 2 months ago), you might decide that it's full worth it to buy another copy. Besides, you're contributing to the underdogs. Everyone comes out happy.

Thank you to Bryan Dean Trio for the spectacular album, and for their patience.
You truly are gifted artists and I wish you all the best to come.

-Keep it underground-keep it real-
Trinity Lost - Trinity Lost


"Sobriety Checkpoint" (Jan. 2012)
1. Poison
2. Worry Worry Worry
3. My Dog Knows
4. Sobriety Checkpoint
5. Damaged Goods
6. Nuthin'
7. Hard To Believe
8. How Does He Make It
9. Brand New Junk
10. I Can't Wait
11. Pie In The Sky
12. Big Storm
13. Piece Of You

"Pink Elephant" (2007)
1. Have Mercy
2. Keep Walking
3. Monkey On My Back
4. Should I Stay or Should I Go (M. Jones, J Strummer)
5. Find My Way Back To You
6. Pink Elephant
7. I Don't Know Why
8. My Baby Don't Like Me No More
9. Bad News
10. Thirteen Women (Dickie Thompson)
11. The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin (Ronald Blackwell)
12. I Put A Spell On You (Jay Hawkins)

Music and lyrics written by Bryan Dean unless noted otherwise.



In 2010, Bryan Dean Trio won Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation (SABHF) Blues Challenge.

They performed at the SABHF Festival the following month where two of the BDT musicians, Bryan Dean and Ralph Gilmore were inducted into Arizona Blues Hall of Fame.

In December, they opened for the blues legend Kim Wilson.

Voted by fans and cristics, Bryan won 2012 TAMMIES best guitarist.

By winning the SABHF Blues Challenge the trio earned the right to compete in the International Blues Challenge, the biggest battle of the band held annually in Memphis, TN. The band competed against 110 other winners from all around the world. They made it to the semi finals with their own brand of original contemporary blues.

Receiving the great response at the international competition, the band is ever so ready to take their music anywhere. Most of Dean's originals are not exactly traditional twelve bar blues that starts with "Woke up this morning," but his humorous, ironic or sometimes painfuly honest takes of the life and the world. Their set would be a refreshing addition to any music festivals or events.

Bryan Dean Trio offers more than good music but an experience. One might have seen them perform number of times but it guarantees no two shows are alike. The band believes in improvisation rather than exact repeats of the tunes to keep the audience captivated.

They released their second album, "Sobriety Checkpoint" in January 2012 with 13 original tracks. It was produced by Terry Oubre, a Grassroots alumni. It is receiving great reviews and radio airplays around the states.

The band is scheduled to play in Decatur, Illinois to headline the blues festival in May 2013.