Born: September 11 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Bruce Radtke is a New Jersey based jazz guitarist and composer. He has gigged professionally in Boston, Los Angeles and NYC, and earned a B.A. from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Radtke has also had a successful career as a computer programmer, co-designing two cuttingedge music software programs for IBM. His last full-length solo CD is entitled Long Time Passing.
Drawn to the music of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton at the age of 8, Radtke picked up the guitar, learning to play songs by ear. Along the way, he got into an expanding range of influences - Clapton led to B.B.King and Muddy Waters and then to Robert Johnson. He attended a concert in the early 70's by the Mahavisnhu Orchestra and it was like a visit from another planet. The intensity and the fire was like nothing ever heard before. Tracing back the lineage, led to some of the forefathers of jazz guitar - Joe Pass, Wes Montegomrery and Charlie Christian.
Radtke never intended to be a jazz guitarist, but decided to study jazz because they had mastered the art of playing music. They were simply the bestmusicians.
He attended Berklee, and was one of the first 15 students to graduate from their Applied Music Program. After college, he kicked around Boston, played in an original punk/rock band A.Y.M., and taught at the Cincotti School of Music. He then moved to L.A., where he lived for 10 years, gigging and recording with local mainstays Chuck Johnson’s Interplay and Bill Given’s Give And Take.
Throughout this time and his life, Radtke maintained his day gig as a computer programmer. His day gigs included stints creating music related software for IBM Computer Music Research Center. During this research, he helped create Sonnet, a visual programming environment that lets users model real time music systems via flowcharts. He was also was involved in creating Kid Riffs, a music edutainment program released in 1995. After a few years, Radtke left IBM �and what most 9-5ers would call a dream job - dismayed that he was spending too much time on technical details. But he took with him a philosophy that affects his playing to this day: whether in computers or music, if there’s too much technology the music gets stifled.
Returning to New Jersey, Radtke has been playing around NYC and NJ with informal jazz/funk bands. However, he has been concentrating on his guitar trio and their first CD. In his first CD, Bruce Radtke has delved deep into Americana, recording fresh interpretations of classic 60s folk and early rock. Long Time Passing features Radtke’s clean, open guitar sounds and nice interplay from his trio �the bass and drums interact, but are never overbearing. Radtke cites Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett as primary influences, for their unique, personal tone. And with his warm boppish lines, and fresh re-workings of classic tunes, Radtke is well on his way to creating his own sound.