"Bruce Forman is one of the great lights of our age." - Barney Kessel

"Bruce Forman is a wonderful guitarist; extremely versatile and very musical...a first-rate accompanist and soloist." - Kenny Burrell

The short story:

A busy touring schedule; seventeen recordings as a leader; countless sideman recording date--including a featured role on one of jazz great Ray Brown’s last albums; soundtrack performances on three of Clint Eastwood’s distinguished films--the Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, Oscar-nominated Flags of Our Fathers and Hereafter ; producer, arranger, and acclaimed educator; over twenty appearances at the landmark Monterey Jazz Festival; in residence at USC ’s Studio / Jazz Guitar Dept.—when does Bruce Forman rest?


Forman is a seasoned jazz player with top-level skills as a leader, entertainer and sideman. He creates soulful, lyrical melodies, inventive harmonies, and solid accompaniment. Though he can shred bebop at blistering tempos with the best of ‘em, he is no urban snob. Cow Bop, Forman’s unique “western bebop” band, hit four separate charts with its CDs, Swingin’ Out West, Route 66, Too Hick for the Room and Cowlifornia Swing. In May 2014, Cow Bop was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame.


A new composition, The Red Guitar, has received wide acclaim. It may be the only jazz libretto where the narrator and the featured instrumentalist are the same performer. The Red Guitar requires great virtuosity, but it is much deeper than a simple showcase for Forman’s abilities. It is serious one-man theater, exploring the obsessive demands that music places on its truest followers.


Forman is also a distinguished music educator and in-kind philanthropist. His national music-mentoring program, JazzMasters Workshop, provided over 2,500 sessions for young students. Always free of charge, JazzMasters’ sessions occurred during after-school hours, and the program enriched lives and helped develop numerous musicians who have gone on to promising careers.


Bruce’s life and musical journey provide an American saga that is still in full swing. His Texas origins, his early career in San Francisco and New York , and his years on the road, all contribute to the unique and highly personal vision that he demonstrates today. Deep immersion in American culture inspires him to contribute to the traditions that he drew from. Cow Bop’s “road challenges” down historic byways like Route 66; original works like The Red Guitar; JazzMasters Workshop—these are only the latest answers to the endless question that underlies Bruce Forman’s creativity. His music and life reflect every step of his journey, and demonstrate the awareness of an artist who’s very much at home in the world, and at the top of his form.


A bit more:

Bruce Forman's guitar style has been an important part of the international jazz scene for more than three decades. He has been featured as leader as well as sideman at many of the most prestigious festivals and concert venues throughout the world. His numerous recording and performing credits include the likes of Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Barney Kessel, Roger Kellaway, Richie Cole, and countless others. Known for swinging bop-style phrasing and inventive harmonizations, his ability to work in a variety of settings keeps him in constant demand. His guitar work is featured throughout Clint Eastwood's Academy Award winning film, Million Dollar Baby.

His devotion to sharing knowledge-particularly with children-has been a constant throughout his career. Having taught since his late teens, he is keenly aware of the needs of developing musicians and is personally connected to all of his students, many of whom have moved on to successful careers as recording and performing artists. He has served as 'artist in residence' at numerous music workshops worldwide, has conducted seminars in conservatories and universities across four continents, is in residence at USC's Thornton School of Music and a longstanding member of the
Monterey Jazz Festival Education Program.

In January 2000, he founded JazzMasters Workshop, a music-mentoring program for student-age musicians. Beginning in 2001, JazzMasters achieved non-profit 501(c)(3) status and operated well more than 2,500 workshops throughout the nation. Through JazzMasters Workshops' auspices, many of the world's greatest touring and recording artists have had the opportunity to inspire and interact with the upcoming generation and to make a difference in the lives of children in their communities. In June 2003, the Jazz Journalist's Association recognized this work by bestowing an award for "Service To and Beyond Jazz." In support of the workshops, Bruce's western bebop band Cow Bop participated in the 'Route 66 Challenge', securing per-mile pledges for the organization. Since the first trip in 2004, there have been many such oddyseys. All daily journals and pictures for the trips are archived at

Bruce Forman's music publications exemplify his passion for music and educating. The Jazz Guitarists Handbook, (GSP Publications), is a critically acclaimed method book that clarifies the concepts of jazz from a performance-based point of view. Jazz Band Guitar, (Mel Bay Publications), is a no-nonsense approach to the big band for guitarists of all levels. His video, Jazz Guitar Soloing, (GSP), encompasses the important musical aspects that make up an expressive and swinging solo.

In April 2003, his first published fiction novel, Trust Me, was released by Lost Coast Press. The story is a Faustian frolic, a guitarist's personal odyssey through jazz, mysticism, and human folly. It has received rave reviews for its portrayal of playing music and the jazz life.

He has seventeen recordings as leader, the most recent being a self-produced issue entitled Dedication, Bootleg Vol. I, (re-released by BluJazz Records, September 2003) a selection of compositions and arrangements that reveal his personal acknowledgement of many of the musicians and experiences that shaped his music. Among his numerous recordings as sideman, Bruce was prominently featured on Ray Brown's Some of my best fiends are Guitarists CD, released in 2002.

In 2004, Cow Bop, a jazz and western swing band featuring Bruce Forman won the Route 66 Challenge, traveling the length of the storied road, having departed Chicago with a mere $100 a no scheduled gigs. The band's CDs: Swingin' Out West, Route 66, Too Hick for the Room and Cowlifornia Swing have all received wide acclaim and charted on radio charts in four different catagories. In May 2014, Bruce Forman and Cow Bop were inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. For more: