Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Williamson was active in the San Francisco music scene until moving to New York City in the mid-1980s. In California he performed in blues bands, Brazilian bands and with jazz artists such as Mark Levine, Bobby McFerron and Benny Green. He was also a member of the experimental jazz group Rubisa Patrol with pianist Art Lande and trumpeter Mark Isham. Shortly after moving to New York he joined organist Jack McDuff's band (with Dave Stryker on guitar), giving him the opportunity to meet and play with Jimmy Smith, Stanley Turrentine and George Benson. More recently, he has performed with his own groups in various New York City clubs and has been a featured soloist in Japan and Europe. Over the years, Bruce has also performed with Gary Peacock, Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, Mark Soskin, Jim Pepper, Randy Brecker, Paul McCandless, Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra and many other jazz notables. Bruce can be heard on more than sixty recordings playing saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo, piano and synthesizer.
In New York City's theater world, he has performed in many of Julie Taymor's productions; Juan Darien at Lincoln Center (1996), Lion King at the New Amsterdam Theater (1998) and The Green Bird at the Cort Theater (2000). He has also performed regularly in the orchestras of many Broadway shows, currently playing Reed-1 in the orchestra for the Broadway show Chicago. In film, Bruce has been a featured soloist in many of Elliot Goldenthal's filmscores; Butcher Boy, In Dreams, Public Enemies, Titus, Frida (Academy-award winning score - 2003), Across The Universe, The Tempest, Midsummer Night's Dream and The Glorias (the last six directed by Taymor). Bruce was also featured with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra in Goldenthal's 1997 ballet Othello (choreographed by Lar Lubovitch) and with the NYC Opera Orchestra in the 2006 Taymor/Goldenthal opera Grendel performed at Lincoln Center. Bruce has been awarded Jazz Composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Armour Foundation. His compositions can be heard on various recordings, including his Timeless Records CD Big City Magic, his Origin Records CD Standard Transmission, the Turtle Island String Quartet CD Metropolis, a 2007 release called Resonance and a 2018 release called Lubbock. Bruce is currently on the Music Faculty at Bennington College in Vermont and has been a jazz clinician in both the U.S. and Europe.
"WILLIAMSON PLAYS WITH PASSION AND INTELLIGENCE. HIS RANGE OF EXPRESSION IS HUGE ... INTROSPECTIVE LYRICISM, SWINGING BOP LINES AND GUT-WRENCHING "SCREAMS" EXPRESSING RAW EMOTION IN THE TRADITION OF THE BEST AVANT-GARDE PLAYERS."
-Jon Garelick, Boston Globe
" ... A FEARLESS IMPROVISOR IN FULL COMMAND OF HIS INSTRUMENT."
- Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express
" ... A MATURE PLAYER WHOSE EXPERIENCE COMES THROUGH IN HIS TIGHT, NEVER WASTEFUL SOLOS, THOUGH HE PLAYS SEVERAL DIFFERENT INSTRUMENTS."
- Ken Dryden, All Music
" ... THOUGHTFUL LINES WITH A GOOD SOUND ... IT'S CDS LIKE THIS THAT RESTORE MY FAITH IN CONTEMPORARY PLAYERS"
- David Kane, Cadence Magazine
" ... A CD OF THOUGHTFUL CREATIVITY, OFTEN FASCINATING HARMONICALLY."
- George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon