BRUCE DUDLEY is a versatile jazz pianist, who plays contemporary music that is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of jazz piano. His music is hard swinging, lyrical, and fresh, capturing the very essence of jazz.
"Stunning to listen to," says the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Julia Olivarez, December 27, 1997 writes:
"Imagine a recording of beautiful music by a top-flight pianist accompanied by equally gifted players. Imagine a recording which captures the warmth, intimacy and easy camaraderie of a live performance in a small jazz club. Imagine a pianist who plays not-so-standard songs as though he had written them himself, with love and infinate thoughtfulness and care. Imagine all of this, and then get yourself to a music store and find a copy of pianist Bruce Dudley's "Semblance" for the real thing.
Bruce Dudley is one of those happy few, a pianist with virtuostic technique and an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz piano styles who manages to forgo the tedious pyrotechnics of some such players, opting for an exceedingly warm and lryical approach to both composition and performance. Running across such a pianist is almost like walking into a strange place and finding your best friend waiting for you with good news. Dudley is able to turn music into conversation, a fluid give-and-take betweem himslef and his accompanists, between himself and his listeners. Bracing as it is to listen to players who turn music into a virtual challenge to their listeners to penetrate its complexities, it is with a giant sigh of relief and gratitude that one listens to Dudley's immediately accessable love for the sheer beauty of music. In his hands, music is a happy, pampered creature---and we lucky listeners are likely to come away feeling equally indulged.
"Semblance" is a great pleasure to hear, and, if we should be so lucky, Bruce Dudley will favor us with ever more of his work in years to come. Here's hoping that we won't have to wait too long!"
JAZZ and BLUES NEWS
SEMBLANCE, Bruce Dudley Keuka Waters Music, 1997
Excellent Nashville pianist Bruce Dudley scores with his first CD (that we know of), with David Craig and Eric Late, bass, Sebastian Whittaker and Joe Ferreira, drums, and Bob Chadwick, flute. This collection of jazz classics, standards, and 2 originals shows why Bruce is a welcome addition to the local jazz scene. He can range from a strong two-handed rhythmic approach to a sensative lyricism, and seems to share a characteristic with the late great Bill Evans: both hands always seem to be in perfect balance, which gives every note a harmonic richness making repeated listenings a pleasure.
About the Artist
BRUCE DUDLEY is a versatile jazz pianist, who plays contemporary music that is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of jazz piano players from the 1930's to the 1960's. His music is hard swinging, lyrical, and fresh. A native of Rochester, New York, Dudley studied in Boston and New York City with Jaki Byard and George Russell before returning to Rochester and the Eastman School of Music for a Master of music in Jazz Performance where he studied closely with Roland Hanna, Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins.
Dudley began teaching at St. Francis Xavier University in 1986 and released his first recording "JazFX" in 1988. In 1991 Dudley moved to Houston, Texas to teach at San Jacinto College and quickly became an in demand pianist in that city. He performed with Herb Ellis, Marvin Stamm, Pat La Barbara, Fraser MacPherson among others during this time. In 1995 Dudley relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where he currently teaches at Belmont University and from where he tours regularly.
Drummer Sebastian Whittaker has received numerous awards for his playing and recordings on Justice Records. His performing credits include stints with Freddy Hubbard, Frank Lacy, Herb Ellis, and mosy notably his own band "The Creators".
Bassist David Craig has performed with almost every major jazz artist who has visited Houston including Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Werner, Tex Allen, Dianne Schurr among many others. He has appeared on countless recordings and is a much in demand sideman.
Bassist Eric Late has directed the jazz program at San Jacinto College in Houston for more than ten years. He is also a very busy bassist performing for shows and visiting jazz artists. Other accomplishments include hot dog skiing and yachting.
Flutist Bob Chadwick has carved a nich for himself by virtue of his abilty to combine a strong technical sense using his classical training with a very creative approach to world music and improvisation. Chadwick has an earthy yet focused sound on the instrument and grabs at musical ideas as quickly as they enter the room.
Jazz pianist, BRUCE DUDLEY's debut recording as a leader, entitled "SEMBLANCE" includes fresh and evocative treatments of jazz standards and original compositions which showcase Dudley's fine sense of controlled spontaneity and interaction with his rhythm section, which includes drummer Sebastian Whittaker and bassists David Craig and Eric Late.
This entirely acoustic setting finds Dudley conversing with such standards as "My Shining Hour", "I Have Dreamed", and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". Jazz standards including pianists' John Lewis' "Two Bass Hit" and Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" receive special treatment with drummer Sebastian Whittaker's impeccable sense of swing, time, and technique.
Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington are acknowledged in a thoughtful medley of "Lotus Blossom" and "Single Petal of a Rose". The two original pieces include the title track "Semblance" with its contemporary feel and "Song For Dave", featuring flutist Bob Chadwick.
Dudley, studied jazz piano and arranging at the Eastman School of Music as a teenager with Biff Hannon and Bill Dobbins. At age 16 he won a "Young Talent Search" and was awarded the opportunity to perform with his own trio at the Wichita Jazz Festival. There he had the privilege to share the stage with Herbie Hancock and Clark Terry. Upon graduating high school, Dudley continued his musical studies at New England Conservatory in Boston, where he worked with George Russell, Jaki Byard, and pianist Irma Wolpe. Further studies at Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Eastman School of Music led to a Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance.
Dudley accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Music and Jazz Studies at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1986 where he taught jazz arranging, composition, theory, piano, and conducted ensembles. He was a founding member of the jazz faculty sextet JazFX, for which he composed and arranged for three years. Dudley's recording debut was with JazFX on their self-titled album on Mark Records. The group, with Dudley at the helm, recorded for CBC radio and television and toured Canada from Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. Beginning in 1988, Dudley began composing commissioned works for various professional ensembles including, the Millar Brass, the Canadian Saxophone Quintet, and the group Cello. The Penfield Music Commission Project commissioned him to write several works for jazz ensembles that have been performed by high school and colleges throughout North America.
From 1991 until 1995 Dudley taught at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. He was frequently heard in clubs and concert halls throughout the Southwest with his trio and as accompanist to such artists as jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, and with his wife, vocalist Sandra Dudley. His playing led Tim Carman of the Houston Post to write: "Dudley plays the piano with such grace and authority that he has quietly become the pianist that other pianists go to hear."
In 1995 he moved with his family to Nashville, Tennessee to begin teaching at Belmont University. He is a sought after pianist, accompanying vocalists, playing theatrical shows and backing up many fine jazz artists. He been heard on National Public Radio and Public Radio International. The song "Billie", which Dudley co-wrote with his wife, won Jazziz magazine's 1997 "Vocals On Fire" jazz songwriting competition, and was released in February 1998 on a CD produced by Jazziz. Dudley's composition "Red Moon" was a winning finalist in the U.S.A. Songwriting Competition in 2001. The song is featured on Sandra Dudley's CD "Close To You".
Dudley's debut recording as a leader, Semblance (Keuka Waters Music/Fall '97) was nominated "Best Jazz Album" for the 1998 Nashville Music Awards. Dudley was pianist for Grammy winner Crystal Gayle from 1999 through 2001, touring the U.S. He has been commissioned to compose a piece for the Murfreesboro Youth Orchestra for the 2005-2006 season by The Commission Project. Dudley is on the faculties of music at Belmont University in Nashville and Middle Tennessee State University.