About Me

     Bruce Gunia, hereinafter referred to as "I",  grew up in Springdale, a small town about 15 miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, Pa. I played the trombone all through high school but at the age of 17, when it came time to decide what to do with my life,  I made the ill-considered decision to take a job as a file clerk for the FBI in Washington, D.C. This was in 1970 so J. Edgar Hoover was still alive, though probably not all that well and he dropped dead a year and a half later. This was the beginning of a long, strange trip.

     After a year or so in Washington, I weaseled a gig back to Pittsburgh where I spent the next several years working my way through night school at the University of Pittsburgh.  I left the Bureau after almost 7 years as a clerk and eventually became a policeman. I'm still trying to figure out why I thought that was a good idea.  I spent a short time in Freeport, Pa., and nearly 5 years as a patrolman in Phoenix, Arizona.

    In 1984 I went back to the FBI where I spent the next 20 years as an agent, first in San Diego then New York, with a side trip to Philadelphia. My career was notable only in the sense that I discovered my true calling - constant bitching and generally being disgruntled, although, to steal from P.G. Wodehouse, I might not ever have been completely gruntled in the first place.

     In my mid-forties, as a way of coping with the stress of working in New York and living in New Jersey, I decided to start playing my trombone again. It didn't take long to figure out how much I'd been missing and I'm still trying to make up for 25 years away from horn. I retired in 2004 and at the age of 53, enrolled at the University of South Florida where I earned a BA in Music. In 2012, my wife Cynthia and I decided we liked France better than Florida, packed up and moved to Bordeaux. I now spend my time writing this blog, articles for the Journal of the International Trombone Association, where I'm an associate editor, and, when I'm not contemplating melting it down for cufflinks, playing my trombone.

     My playing experience includes my high school jazz band, then called "The Mellowmen", and I'll always be grateful to its founder, Duke Wareham, and Jack Lapato, my first teacher, for turning me on to jazz. Since the mid-1990's I've played in New Jersey with the Lawrenceville Community Band, the Blawenburg Band, the Westminster Community Orchestra and the Swing Street Big Band.
At USF, I played in the Symphonic Band, the Jazz Ensemble II (The Deuce) and small jazz combos.
After USF, I played in the Pinellas Park Community Orchestra, I did some gigs with the Helios Orchestra of St. Petersburg College, subbed regularly with the Tomcats Big Band and the Frank Parsons Band. By far, my favorite experience was playing every summer in Dave Pate's jazz band at St. Pete College. Here in Bordeaux I'm playing with Carrémont Jazz and the Merignac Big Band, the Big Band de Aquitaine and a little group that calls itself Lester's Memories (the founder digs Lester Young).



2 comments:

  1. This is positively a great blog. This is great writing here, yet it looks like your trailing off or just resting up. I see 39 posts in the year 2013 down to 6 in 2015. Be encouraged. Chin up. Muster call. Where's John Wayne when we need him? Don't give up. No, no.

    I'm a professional jazz player but honestly, I tend to not read much that is trombone-specific. I can't trade ideas back so to speak since I have no blog of my own. I just bought an alto so that's an outrageous move, for sure. I play a Martin with a 7c. That's paints a sound picture right there. One of the Urbie model horns and it was my dad's and he was with Benny at one point, in about 1962.

    What I really love here, and how can I put this, is your holistic approach to your art. Art, music, and creativity does not occur in a vacuum. We all create art to express feelings that spring forth from our lives' struggles. It's more the old-school idea to think that art lands on one person, from above, and has no connection to their greater life.
    Almost like a search you seem to chase down a thought, running here or there-- a blind ally that must be checked out. A red herring here and a red herring there; then circling back. That's the way life really is for us. It really is.
    Good stuff!
    Incredible actually.
    jim winters, Maine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim,
      Thanks so much for your kinds words and for reading. I sometimes wonder where this thing goes after I click "publish" and I'm glad at least some of it ended up with a brother trombonist who enjoyed it.
      And thanks for the encouragement.

      Delete