Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Gertz, Bruce (David)

Gertz, Bruce (David), bass; b. Providence, RI, 15 December 1952. He grew up in Cranston, RI. His parents Minnie (b. January 1924) and Raymond (born November 1923) were US born children of Russian immigrants. His mother plays piano since age 10, including a bit of stride piano. Raymond Gertz, one of 3 boys, played violin in school orchestra and bass, drum in college marching band. He chose engineering as a career.  Benjamin Gertz, Ray's father was a concert violinist in Boston in the 1920's but then became a carpenter during the depression. My mother was a professional secretary and my dad was a mechanical engineer, Yale grad. He served in the Navy in WW II. His father was a concert violinist and played chamber music professionally though needed to earn money to feed the family of five (3 sons and a wife) so he was a carpenter and delivered fruit for a living. He tried to exercise discipline on his sons to practice violin but none of them really got into it.  My father has the gift of music but never pursued it.  I grew up hearing him whistle constantly.  He has a reasonably large repertoire of tin pan alley tunes which he whistles in perfect pitch and rhythm.  I never realized until recently the impact it had on me as a young player. 

My mother plays stride piano in her own quirky way. I also have four sisters, one older and three younger. We all took piano lessons as kids.  My sisters stuck with it somewhat but I didn't really get interested in piano until I became a composer at Berklee.

His sisters are Francine (Dec.1950), Susan (Feb, 1955), Carol (Sep. 1956), and Lucy (June 1958). Lucy Gertz is a flutist. Francine is a vocalist but works as an Art Director in RI.  

Bruce graduated Cranston West HS class of 71 and went to New England College, Henniker, NH 1971-72 then attended Berklee College of music from 72-76. I studied with John LaPorta, Herb Pomeroy, Paul Schmeling, Ray Santisi, Gary Burton, Michael Gibbs, Larry Monroe, John Bavicci, William Maloof, and other great composition and arranging teachers.  I studied bass with John Neves who had played with Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb, Sonny Stitt as well as many other well known artists. John also put me on gigs with Ray Bryant, Helen Humes, Alan Dawson (Count Basie sat in) and George Shering as well as others.

My classical teacher was William Curtis who played with the Boston Pops.  I began teaching part time in 1975 at Berklee and full time at Berklee in 1976. I gigged and traveled while teaching and am still at Berklee now.  I studied improvisation with Charlie Banacos from 1982-1988 and returned for a lesson in 2001.

I have a wife, Roberta and two daughters, Ruby and Eva. All three of them are natural artists.  They paint, draw and sculpt.  Ruby plays cello and Eva plays piano, sings and dances very well. Eva also improvises since she was four.

Bruce has accompanied many well known, jazz artists including Gil Evans,Danilo Perez, Junior Cook, Dave Brubeck, Bob Berg, Mike Stern,Charles McPherson, George Cables, Diane Schurr, Bobby Tucker, Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Lee Konitz, Jon Hendricks, Cab Calloway, Joe Williams, Oliver Lake, Mark Murphy, George Coleman, John Abercrombie, Gary Burton, George Garzone, Tim Hagans, Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, Ted Curson, Eddie Harris, Eric Kloss, The Fifth Dimension, Freddie Cole, Donald Byrd, Charlie Byrd, Joey Calderazzo,Cyrus Chestnut, Aaron Goldberg, Larry Goldings and Cecil Payne are some of these artists.  Bruce has also toured with Billy Eckstine, Maynard Ferguson, Marlena Shaw, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck, Jerry Bergonzi and others.

His teaching experience includes 1974-present, a private instructor, 1976-present, a   professor at Berklee College of Music, Boston and from 1985-present Bruce has taught workshops with Berklee in Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy and Santa Cruz de Tenerife and as a leader or with Jerry Bergonzi in Australia and the U.S. He also offers private Instruction Through Correspondence (individual lesson tailored to student) using CDs and sheet music (through his website). The Bruce Gertz Group has often performed concerts and clinics at bothe the IAJE and ISB Conferences.

A partial list of Bruce Gertz's former students include Lennie Stallworth, Ed Friedland, Ed Lucie, Alain Caron, Kai Eckhart, Stuart Hamm, Jeff Andrews, Skuli Sverrison, Peter Herbert, Matt Garrison, Victor Bailey, Tino D'Agostino, Mitch Cohn, Steve Jenkins, Dan Breeze, and David LaRue.

Bruce also taught the following Berklee faculty in classes and/or private lessons: Danny Mo (Morris), Ron Mahdi, Paul Del Nero, Fernando Huergo, Anthony Vitti, Winston McCow, Oscar Stagnaro, Joe Santarre, Herman Hampton, Lello Molinari, Scott Tarulli, Ron Reid.  

Bob Kaufman-Bruce Gertz-Jerry Bergonzi: The Line Between, Dreaming Out Loud; Blueprint (with John Abercrombie); Third Eye; Discovery Zone; Bruce Gertz-Ken Cervenka Quintet: Shut Wide Open; Bruce Gertz -Jerry Bergonzi Duo: Was that you or was that me?; Red Handed
As sideperoson:
Jerry Bergonzi Quartet: On Again; Miles Donahue Quintet: The Good Listener; Mick Goodrick Quartet: Sunscreams; Miles Donahue: Simple Pleasures, Double Dribble; Con Brio: The Ray; Gonz: Uranian Undertow, Front End, Caught in the Act quartet; Jerry Bergonzi Quartet featuring Bruce Gertz, Inside Out, Tilt; The Greg Hopkins 16 Piece: Okavongo

 Mastering the Bass Book 1 Mel Bay Publications
"Mastering the Bass" (series) Mel Bay Publications
"Walkin" Bruce Gertz Music
"22 Contemporary Melodic Studies for Electric Bass Vol. 1 Bruce Gertz Music MB -1
"Let's Play Rhythm" - Advance Music
Instructional videos:
"Walkin" Bruce Gertz Music WV -1
"Harmonizing a Melody" Bass Player Magazine March, 1993
"Triad Twister" Bass Player Magazine Fall, 1999
Instructional CD:
with Dave Weigert: "Jazz Workshop for Bass and Drums" (1996)

1987 Boston Music Awards - "Outstanding Bassist" 
1988 Boston Music Awards - "Outstanding Bassist" 
1990 Boston Music Awards - "Outstanding Bassist" 
1991 Boston Music Awards - "Outstanding Bassist" 
1992 Billboard Song Contest - Third Prize for the song, "Blueprint" 
1992 National Endowment for the Arts. "Jazz Performance Grant" 
1993 the album, "Blueprint" 
1995 the album, "Third Eye" 
1996 the album, "Discovery Zone" 
1997 the album, "Blueprint" all nominated for "Outstanding Jazz 
2002 Kaufman-Gertz-Bergonzi, The Line Between, Nominated for best, jazz cd, Boston Music Awards
2002 Kaufman-Gertz-Bergonzi, Nominated for Best Jazz Act, Boston Music Awards.
Boston Music Awards 5 times outstanding Jazz Act 5 times Outstanding Jazz CD (Indie Label)
Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll, Best Local Jazz Act
Massachussets Cultural Council, Jazz Composition Grant/Award

Contact information:
Bruce Gertz  Music 
P.O. Box 3004 
Wakefield, MA 01880 USA
 Email: bgertzbass@aol.com

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