TOM BRUNER with the SAVAGE JAZZ TRIO
Tom Bruner has been in the music business for the better part of his life. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee but grew up in Texas. He joined the Musician’s Union at the age of 16 and began playing with Rhythm & Blues, Rock& Roll, and Commercial bands in the San Antonio, Texas area.
After graduating from North Texas with a Bachelor of Music Degree, Tom spent 4 years in the Air Force, assigned to the band at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was given the very first “guitarist slot” with the Academy Band, playing with the jazz big band, The Falconaires, and on “pops” arrangements with the Concert Band.
Also during this same period of time,
Tom was the guitarist playing in pit orchestras for 8-week runs of “Broadway musicals” (many produced by the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera), including Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Bernstein Mass (under the direction of Leonard Bernstein), Camelot (staring Robert Goulet & Carol Lawrence), Chicago (staring Gwyn Verden w/Bob Fosse directing) and many others.
By mid 1975, Tom had decided to pursue a career in composing, arranging, conducting and producing music for television and film (in addition to continuing to make a living as a guitarist) and formed Tom Bruner Productions (later becoming Tom Bruner & Associates, Inc). He started this segment of his career by initially writing, arranging and producing jingles for radio and television (over 100 total) and in 1977 was nominated for a Clio Award for a radio music spot he composed and arranged using Sarah Vaughan as vocalist.
Also in 1976, he became musical director for his first television show, THE ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS. The association he formed with that show was to last 18 years, resulting in his arranging and conducting music for dozens of country music stars – from the years 1976 through 1993.
During the 70s, 80s and 90s he continued writing jingles, arranging and conducting for recording artists and was musical director on over 60 national television shows – including 13 years at the helm of the orchestra of the Golden Globe Awards (from 1980 through 1993). He composed hundreds of music cues, arrangements, orchestrations and themes for television, theatrical & television films, animated cartoons, and several television station “music packages”. In the early 80's, Tom co-produced as well as wrote the music for a syndicated 13-episode children’s television show entitled IMAGINE THAT.
Tom’s credits as a Television Show Musical Director include The Golden Globe Awards (13 years), The Academy of Country Music Awards (18 years), The Olympic Flag Jam (a 3 hour super-show produced by Dick Clark at the Atlanta Dome in 1992, celebrating the hosting of the 1994 Olympics), The 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Black Gold Awards (w/Lou Rawls), The Great American Sing Along (w/Steve Allen), The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars (3 years), Ray Charles’ 40th Anniversary Salute, 26 Episodes of series programming for the Playboy Channel, The NBA Awards and many others.
Tom has written seven books on music. At least two of these books - Beginning Orchestration & Arranging and The Arranger/Composer’s Complete Guide To The Guitar are still in use in many colleges and universities. The other five books were designed for intermediate and advanced guitar study (published by Mel Bay Publishing).
In the fall of 1990, Tom moved his wife and 6 children to Nashville, Tennessee as a diversion to the hectic lifestyle of Los Angeles. Even though he still had to commute many times a year to California for film, record and television projects, his focus in Nashville was on his family and on working in his own recording studio. His arranging work in “Music City” grew as well, writing and conducting music for the record dates of prominent Nashville recording artists. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998 for arrangements he did (for a 46-piece orchestra) on recording sessions for the CD Secret Love - for BMG artist Lorrie Morgan.
In mid-1998, Tom was offered the job of musical director for the Glasgow Dinner Theater in the tourist town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He decided to take the position and assembled an 8-piece show band he called The Reboppin’ Swing Daddies for a two year run. Not only did he have to select and arrange all the music for ever-changing shows, he was in charge of hiring musicians, singers, dancers and production support people - such as sound and lighting technicians as well as overseeing the budgeting and payroll of these employees.
Having been heavily involved in the many facets of making a living in the music industry for at least 35 years (since graduating from the University of North Texas in 1967), Tom never had time to take the opportunity to pursue an advanced university degree. Consequently, in the fall of 2006 he enrolled at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the Jazz Studies Master’s Degree Program and graduated Magma Cum Laude in December of 2007. He presently teaches Film Scoring classes at UNLV, as well as Music Theory, Film Music and Music Appreciation classes at the College of Southern Nevada. He plays jazz guitar at various engagements in Las Vegas, and continues to maintain his recording studio and music production activities.