busy touring schedule; seventeen recordings as a leader; countless
sideman recording date--including a featured role on one of
jazz great Ray Brown’s last albums; soundtrack performances
on three of Clint Eastwood’s distinguished films--the Oscar-winning
Million Dollar Baby, Oscar-nominated Flags of
Our Fathers and Hereafter ; producer, arranger,
and acclaimed educator; over twenty appearances at the landmark
Monterey Jazz Festival; in residence at USC ’s Studio / Jazz
Guitar Dept.—when does Bruce Forman rest?
is a seasoned jazz player with top-level skills as a leader,
entertainer and sideman. He creates soulful, lyrical melodies,
inventive harmonies, and solid accompaniment. Though he can
shred bebop at blistering tempos with the best of ‘em, he is
no urban snob. Cow Bop, Forman’s unique “western bebop” band,
hit four separate charts with its CDs, Swingin’ Out West,
Route 66, Too Hick for the Room and Cowlifornia Swing.
In May 2014, Cow Bop was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame.
new composition, The Red Guitar, has received wide
acclaim. It may be the only jazz libretto where the narrator
and the featured instrumentalist are the same performer. The
Red Guitar requires great virtuosity, but it is much deeper
than a simple showcase for Forman’s abilities. It is serious
one-man theater, exploring the obsessive demands that music
places on its truest followers.
is also a distinguished music educator and in-kind philanthropist.
His national music-mentoring program, JazzMasters Workshop,
provided over 2,500 sessions for young students. Always free
of charge, JazzMasters’ sessions occurred during after-school
hours, and the program enriched lives and helped develop numerous
musicians who have gone on to promising careers.
life and musical journey provide an American saga that is still
in full swing. His Texas origins, his early career in San Francisco
and New York , and his years on the road, all contribute to
the unique and highly personal vision that he demonstrates today.
Deep immersion in American culture inspires him to contribute
to the traditions that he drew from. Cow Bop’s “road challenges”
down historic byways like Route 66; original works like The
Red Guitar; JazzMasters Workshop—these are only the latest
answers to the endless question that underlies Bruce Forman’s
creativity. His music and life reflect every step of his journey,
and demonstrate the awareness of an artist who’s very much at
home in the world, and at the top of his form.
Forman's guitar style has been an important part of the international
jazz scene for more than three decades. He has been featured
as leader as well as sideman at many of the most prestigious
festivals and concert venues throughout the world. His numerous
recording and performing credits include the likes of Bobby
Hutcherson, Ray Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Barney
Kessel, Roger Kellaway, Richie Cole, and countless others. Known
for swinging bop-style phrasing and inventive harmonizations,
his ability to work in a variety of settings keeps him in constant
demand. His guitar work is featured throughout Clint
Eastwood's Academy Award winning film, Million Dollar Baby.
His devotion to sharing knowledge-particularly with children-has
been a constant throughout his career. Having taught since his
late teens, he is keenly aware of the needs of developing musicians
and is personally connected to all of his students, many of
whom have moved on to successful careers as recording and performing
artists. He has served as 'artist in residence' at numerous
music workshops worldwide, has conducted seminars in conservatories
and universities across four continents, is in residence at
USC's Thornton School of Music and a longstanding member of
the Monterey Jazz Festival
In January 2000, he founded JazzMasters
Workshop, a music-mentoring program for student-age musicians.
Beginning in 2001, JazzMasters achieved non-profit 501(c)(3)
status and operated well more than 2,500 workshops throughout
the nation. Through JazzMasters Workshops' auspices, many of
the world's greatest touring and recording artists have had
the opportunity to inspire and interact with the upcoming generation
and to make a difference in the lives of children in their communities.
In June 2003, the Jazz Journalist's Association recognized this
work by bestowing an award for "Service To and Beyond Jazz."
In support of the workshops, Bruce's western bebop band Cow
Bop participated in the 'Route 66 Challenge', securing per-mile
pledges for the organization. Since the first trip in 2004,
there have been many such oddyseys. All daily journals and pictures
for the trips are archived at www.wayoutwestmusic.com
Bruce Forman's music publications exemplify his passion for
music and educating. The Jazz Guitarists Handbook, (GSP Publications),
is a critically acclaimed method book that clarifies the concepts
of jazz from a performance-based point of view. Jazz Band Guitar,
(Mel Bay Publications), is a no-nonsense approach to the big
band for guitarists of all levels. His video, Jazz Guitar Soloing,
(GSP), encompasses the important musical aspects that make up
an expressive and swinging solo.
In April 2003, his first published fiction novel, Trust Me,
was released by Lost Coast Press. The story is a Faustian frolic,
a guitarist's personal odyssey through jazz, mysticism, and
human folly. It has received rave reviews for its portrayal
of playing music and the jazz life.
He has seventeen recordings as leader, the most recent being
a self-produced issue entitled Dedication, Bootleg Vol. I, (re-released
by BluJazz Records, September 2003) a selection of compositions
and arrangements that reveal his personal acknowledgement of
many of the musicians and experiences that shaped his music.
Among his numerous recordings as sideman, Bruce was prominently
featured on Ray Brown's Some of my best fiends are Guitarists
CD, released in 2002.
In 2004, Cow Bop, a jazz and western swing band featuring Bruce
Forman won the Route 66 Challenge, traveling the length of the
storied road, having departed Chicago with a mere $100 a no
scheduled gigs. The band's CDs: Swingin' Out West, Route
66, Too Hick for the Room and Cowlifornia Swing
have all received wide acclaim and charted on radio charts in
four different catagories. In May 2014, Bruce Forman and Cow
Bop were inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame.
For more: www.cowbop.com