Bruce’s interest in jazz started as a seven year old in Glasgow when he heard a record of Django Reindhart. So impressed was Bruce, that he wanted to be able to play like Django. Fortunately his father Bob (himself a professional guitarist) spotted the obvious flaw in this plan. Bruce was a terrible guitarist, so he bought him a trumpet instead. So the world was saved from yet another guy who thought he could play guitar but couldn’t. It’s a pity his father hadn’t been more ambitious. He should have been the Charles Bronson to bad Guitarists and wiped them all out.
Bruce was eleven when he started on trumpet, and did his first gig after five months. Within another few months, he was gigging regularly around Glasgow. When he was fourteen, as a prodigy of Nat Gonella’s, he won on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks. The following year he went on the road doing a double act with his father Bob – Expo ’67 in Montreal was followed by a C.S.E. tour for the troops in Aden with Tony Hancock. Over the next few years further C.S.E. shows were followed by trips to New York on the QE2 and cruising with P&O. Sadly the Act finished in 1973 with Bob’s premature death.
Bruce settled back in Glasgow and got involved in the local jazz scene, forming a quintet with Scottish alto saxophonist Bill Fanning, and going on to form an eighteen piece big band with Bill.
Bruce eventually started playing with the George McGowan Big Band with whom he won Best Trumpet and Outstanding Musician in the 1982 Holsten Jazz Journal Big Band Competition. Followed two years later by the best soloist prize in the BBC Big Band Competition.
Bruce’s regular appearances at the Edinburgh and Glasgow jazz festivals enabled him to share the stage with people like Dick Hyman, Bob Wilbur, Benny Carter, Buddy Tate, Al Cohn, Al Grey, Ray Bryant, Milt Hinton, Gus Johnson, Danny Moss, Jack Parnell, Roy Williams, Bill Allred, George Chisholm, Dave McKenna and Jake Hanna. Other festivals include Sacramento, Cork, Breda, Eindhoven, Brecon, Swanage, Decatur, Berne, Licata, Silda, British Columbia, Birmingham, Olymp Jazz Festival Stuttgart, Chateauneuf de Faou and Hanover.
Bruce is a frequent guest soloist on the European jazz scene, playing regularly in Paris, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Sicily. Often with Belgian pianist and saxophonist, Pascal Michaux.
Other top European players Bruce has played with include George Arvanitas, Phillipe Duchemin, Charly Antolini, Pete York, Charly Hollering, Thilo Wagner and Lindy Huppertsberg.