PERFORMING AT THE 2014 CAF
Mr. Gassman's extensive accordion background began at age 9. He performed his first Senior Recital at age 11 and his first guest appearance as soloist with a symphony orchestra at age 12. In 1961, Bruce won the National Boy's Club of America Music Scholarship Award and for the next 4 years he studied with Maestro Joseph Biviano of New York City (1961-65). Also in 1961, Bruce formed his first band, The Metrotones.
In 1962, at the age of 15, Bruce became the youngest member of the Accordion Symphony Society of NY, and at his first concert on December 2, of that year; they performed at Town Hall featuring the immortal Charles Magnante as guest soloist. Bruce also performed with the orchestra at the Singer Bowl - New York Worlds Fair on August 7, 1964.
While in college, (1965-69) and playing rock & roll, he toured the Mid-West with the Escorts, Doc & the MD's and The Broadway Clique. Once back East, and now playing a Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes piano, his 1969-70 Jersey Shore rock scene experience involved performances at many area night clubs including The Pandemonium, The Student Prince and The Upstage; jamming with stars such as James Cotton and B.B. King and several future stars including Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny. For the next three years, Bruce traveled throughout the North-East with the then famous cover band, Waterfront.
Returning to his accordion roots in 1974 and with electronic accordions becoming more current, he formed The Bruce Gassman Orchestra. For the next 18 years Bruce performed at more than 2,500 private parties. In 1992 he stopped playing to focus on his family and his real estate career. After a 15 year sabbatical, Bruce knew it was time to "get back on the field". He attended an AAA meeting in 2007 and that started the come-back. First, Bruce joined Dan Desiderio and the Accordion Pops Orchestra; and then in 2008 became the first accordionist ever to perform with Holiday Express, a group of 100 professional musicians and 1,500 volunteers who, from Thanksgiving till Christmas, bring the gift of human kindness to those less fortunate. Each year, Holiday Express performs more than 55 shows at Developmental Centers, Psychiatric Hospitals and Children’s Special Schools.
Bruce also finds joy in performing every year for the “Light of Day Foundation”, which raises significant amounts of money for research to cure Parkinson’s disease. Bruce was also a guest performer at the “Restore The Shore” benefit concert, which is the official Charity formed by NJ Gov. Chris Christie, to help those in need after Superstorm Sandy.
Since 2009, Bruce has presented workshops, conducted and been a featured performer at numerous accordion clubs, conventions and festivals. They include LVIAC (Las Vegas International Accordion Convention), NAAC (National Accordion Association Convention), and ATG (Accordion Teachers Guild, International, AAA (American Accordionists’ Association), MAMTG/AAMS (Mid-Atlantic Music Teachers Guild – American Accordion Musicological Society), CAA (Connecticut Accordion Club), WMAS (Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society), Wallace, Idaho Accordion Festival and The Edmonton, Canada Accordion Extravaganza.
In just a few short years, Bruce has shared a stage with such legends as the late Art Van Damme, Dick Contino, the late Frank Marocco, Tony Lovello and Peter Soave. In addition, he has performed with young stars, such as Cory Pesaturo, Sam Thomas and Michael Bridge. You can also catch Bruce playing in Jersey Shore night clubs and at private parties. Most recently, he has performed with the Stormin’ Norman Seldin Revue, which always features some of New Jersey’s top rock musicians and most recently, Bruce is featured with Howard Parker’s “Hot Takeout Zydeco Band”. On top of all that, Bruce has become the accordionist of choice for many of the top Jersey artists’ recording sessions.