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Jimmy Bruno: From Surgery and Carjackings to His Guitar Institute

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Jimmy Bruno's stature as one of jazz's top hard bop guitarist is undisputed. His career as a musician and educator warrants the numerous times that he has been interviewed at All About Jazz. In this interview with AAJ contributor Edward Zucker, Bruno discusses his current CD, Maplewood Avenue (Affiliated Artists, LLC, 2007), the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute, carpal tunnel surgery and a near carjacking. He also offers his uncensored opinion on numerous other topics.

Chapter Index Surgery Carjacking and Guns The New CD Philadelphia's Jazz Scene Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute

Surgery

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Jimmy Bruno: Maplewood Avenue & Jazz Hits, Vol. 1

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Jimmy Bruno Maplewood Avenue Affiliated Artists 2007 MB3 Jazz Hits, Vol. 1 Mel Bay 2006

Jimmy Bruno, one of the most technically proficient yet stylistically-nuanced hard bop guitarists to emerge from the lineage of fellow Pennsylvanians Pat Martino and George Benson, remains a guitarist's guitarist -- if not a trendsetter, certainly a standard bearer. Maplewood Avenue, a trio date with Tony Miceli (vibes) and Jeff Pedraz (bass), shoots ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Maplewood Avenue

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Guitarist Jimmy Bruno opts for the quiet mood, which he sets up with Tony Miceli (vibraphone) and Jeff Pedras (bass), on several of the tunes on Maplewood Avenue. The accent is on chamber jazz but they move out of it on occasion, to lend a welcome balance.

The trio sets an intimate atmosphere and lure the listener into the center of that spell. The impact is immediate, as the three ventures into “Maplewood Avenue. The melody has a lilt that is perfect for Miceli to explore. He improvises within the theme before setting out to find new pastures. Bruno is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Maplewood Avenue

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What is it about Philadelphia boxers and musicians? And I'm not talking about Rocky Balboa, he's fictional, rather Joe Frazier and Bernard Hopkins. No one in their right mind would get in the ring with Sonny Liston. Same with musicians, some of the baddest players one could find in late night “cutting contests were Joe Venuti, Philly Joe Jones, Grover Washington Jr. and, while not born in Philly, both Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane can be claimed as sons.

Another Philly musician, Jimmy Bruno has ruled the city for the past twenty years, scorching guitar lines whenever and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jennifer Leitham & Jimmy Bruno: Two For the Road

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Recorded in 1999, Two for the Road features two of the most effective string jazz artists on the planet. As they remind us here, Jennifer Leitham and Jimmy Bruno share a love for the powerful release of expression through music. The blues comes through it. And yet both demonstrate superior technical proficiency on their instruments.

The session begins with reminiscences of Mingus. Cool and comfortable, the duo interprets “Nostalgia in Times Square with a swinging texture that emphasizes its melody. Both artists converse over the tune's chord structure and stretch out individually with a driving demeanor. From walking ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Solo

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A lot of musicians first learn their craft through the various method books produced by Mel Bay Publications. And so it is within reason to expect outstanding technique on the recordings recorded by Mel Bay Records.

Solo , guitarist Jimmy Bruno's first album for the fledgling label, doesn't disappoint on that score. It's a fiercely swung set of standards and originals featuring walking bass lines, sweep-picked arpeggios, and whole tone scales imaginatively deployed on solo guitar. There's even a rendition of John Coltrane's “Giant Steps." Bruno not only improvises melodically and soulfully over the tune's labyrinthine chord progression, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Midnight Blue

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Guitarist Jimmy Bruno, known for his flawless bop guitar, spreads himself in many directions for his latest disc, a seventh for Concord records. The Philadelphia native's adventure on Midnight Blue takes him from modal jazz to jazz-funk and soul, in other words, a 21st century 'back to the future.'

This session, recorded with an all-Philly lineup, may ruffle the traditionalist a bit with Bruno's heavy nod towards the Mister magic days of Grover Washington Jr. and all its soulful spin-offs. But given the level of talent Bruno possesses, he maintains a high standard of musicianship throughout. Inspired by drummer Marc ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Midnight Blue

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Jimmy Bruno's new release, Midnight Blue, is his best to date. Bruno's past releases, though technically flawless, seemed to cater to the jazz elite and did not open the door for the rest. With “Blue Midnight," he not only opens the doors, but he also commands your presence--and won't let you go until the album ends. Bruno has been a respected professional for many years, but on this new CD he plays like a hungry young lion. He is going to make his mark with this oneï"-not only with jazz guitar aficionados, but also with music lovers from all genres ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno: Midnight Blue

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Jimmy Bruno’s new release, Midnight Blue, is his best to date. Bruno’s past releases, though technically flawless, seemed to cater to the jazz elite and did not open the door for the rest. With “Blue Midnight," he not only opens the doors, but he also commands your presence--and won’t let you go until the album ends. Bruno has been a respected professional for many years, but on this new CD he plays like a hungry young lion. He is going to make his mark with this one—-not only with jazz guitar aficionados, but also with music lovers from all genres ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno & Joe Beck: Polarity

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Veteran guitarists Joe Beck and Jimmy Bruno work well together and share an appreciation of beautiful sound as applied to jazz's mainstream. Most of the feature work is from Bruno, 46, who plays a seven-string guitar. Beck, 54, plays an instrument of his own creation. His alto guitar is tuned down a fifth and offers the artist a means for providing both bass line and accompaniment. Tone quality remains of paramount importance throughout the duo session.

“Summertime" moves at a lively tempo and becomes a fast-fingered clinic for Bruno's dexterous hands. Unfortunately, the flying fingers and urgent mood have eroded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno and Joe Beck: Polarity

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What we have here is a superb, unique, and highly listenable two-guitar album. But- don't be fooled- it is not what one might think- it is not a “duel of the guitars." Rather, it is a genuine collaborative effort in which one guitarist complements the other to produce a beautiful and integrated sense of musical ensemble capitalizing on the “polarity" of Bruno's virtuosic theme and variations combined with Beck's rhythms, chordal accompaniments, and riffs on his self-developed “alto guitar," an instrument which can provide a bass ostinato along with chords and melodic twists, each in a distinctly different register, creating ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Jimmy Bruno Trio: Live at Birdland II

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As its title indicates, this is the second recording made by guitarist Jimmy Bruno’s trio during recent gigs at New York’s fabled Birdland, and as with the first, the listener is treated to two sessions for the price of one, with tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton making it a quartet on the second half of the program (on Live at Birdland I, the trio’s guest was alto saxophonist Bobby Watson). That’s quite a contrast, as Hamilton is as laid–back as Watson is fiery, but Bruno and his colleagues (bassist Thomas, drummer Ector) seem unfazed by the disparity, blending as seamlessly with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Jimmy Bruno Trio: Live At Birdland II

The Jimmy Bruno Trio is joined by Scott Hamilton on Live At Birdland II, the exciting follow up to Bruno's first edition of Live At Birdland. The set, replete with standards and originals ranging from “Reticulation" composed by the guitarist, to the all-time Latin favorite “Poinciana" creates a spontaneous personal statement by the trio. Bruno's ability to improvise shines through on “Broadway" and also features several of his better known arpeggios. This song represents the first collaboration with Scott Hamilton who constructs tenor sax phrases over Bruno's chord changes in a dynamic relationship of scales to chords.The 10-track CD is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Bruno Trio: Live At Birdland II

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With guest Scott Hamilton sitting in on half the album, Jimmy Bruno’s session oozes with guitar and bass technique. However, as happens sometimes, the increased technical prowess causes Bruno’s session to lose some of its swing. His guitar pick produces blistering single-note runs that thrill the listener. In doing so, he’s overlooked the need for added variety and for the space to let things simmer. Bruno was born to a musical family. His mother was a singer and his father played jazz guitar at Philadelphia clubs throughout the ‘60s. At the age of 19 Bruno went on the road with ...



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