Jazz Guitarist Dan Bruce Makes Cleveland Home Base
When jazz guitarist Dan Bruce's wife was offered a job in her home city of Cleveland, the couple decided to move back to Northeast Ohio after a decade in Chicago. The move allowed them to be closer to family, but that wasn’t the only reason they chose to return.
Bruce, who had played in this area in the early 2000s, realized living in Cleveland would be a good career move for him, as well.
“It is easier for musicians to be regional, even Midwest, to get to know and book things around a region. I’m going back to Chicago a lot, New York and even Toronto, and Cleveland is in a perfect geographical location to hit those places,” Bruce said.
It’s not only the ease of travel that makes Cleveland a good place to be these days for jazz players.
“The other thing I think is that the Cleveland scene is getting well known and strong with the community here. I think it is becoming a stepping-stone city for tours for people coming from New York and heading to Chicago. I’m seeing much larger names stopping at BLU Jazz+(in Akron) and the Bop Stop (at the Music Settlement). I think Cleveland is becoming part of a Midwest touring infrastructure.”
The emergence of BLU Jazz+ and the Bop Stop offers more than just places to play.
“They become a landmark for local musicians. Most of us, if we’re not playing that night or we just got off a gig, we go to see who is playing there. It’s a place to network and commune. It’s immeasurable what it does to solidify community,” Bruce said.
The guitarist recently the release of his second recording, “Earthshine,” which he made with a group of players based in Chicago. When he came back to Cleveland, Bruce said he had no problem finding musicians with whom to play.
“People were very welcoming. Right away, I met a number of people who weren’t here when I lived here before, that were very quick to say ‘let’s get together to play.’ As there is this touring infrastructure and regional accessibility, I think the scenes are getting smaller.