INTERMISSION: Interview with Eddie Bruce, Philadelphia Bandleader, MC, and Jazz Singer Extraordinaire

by Lesley Grigg

Born in Philadelphia, Eddie Bruce did not waste any time starting his career in entertainment. As a child, he appeared in local theater and on televised talent shows, including the popular Al Albert’s Showcase. These early experiences prepared him for various roles in broadcast media, as both a television and radio host, and stage performances at concerts, clubs, and cabarets in Los Angeles, New York, and the Philadelphia area.

For over 30 years, Eddie Bruce has been “one of the most popular bandleaders and master of ceremonies in the Philadelphia region.” If there’s a wedding, gala or special event in need of live music, there’s The Eddie Bruce Band. Eddie Bruce also shares the stage with special guest performers every Friday at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia as he headlines Eddie Bruce & Friends.

Even with such an extensive career, Eddie still remembers the first time he performed at Feinstein’s in New York. “I think that walking onto the stage [for] the first time was most memorable….it’s a premier venue and it was sold out…very thrilling.” He’s become a regular at Feinstein’s, and even Michael Feinstein complemented Eddie on “gracing his room” and added, “Eddie has a wonderful voice. His stage presence, tone and breath control are just as good.

While Eddie frequently travels to New York “just to be a small part [of] the center of the entertainment world”, he always returns to Philadelphia. “It’s my home. I love this city…it gives me everything I need.” In addition to the regular SugarHouse gigs, Eddie performs a tribute show to Tony Bennett called Bruce on Bennett. He doesn’t try to impersonate the jazz legend, Bruce gives his “personal interpretation of Tony’s music.” Bruce on Bennett has received rave reviews for both the cabaret show and CD, and soon Philadelphia will experience it in a whole new way. Eddie has partnered with Bennett biographer David Evanier, author of All the Things You Are to present A Tribute to Tony Bennett in Words & Music. This original production, in association with the Philadelphia Theatre Company, is a gala literary and musical fund-raiser for the Center for Literacy, and combines song with stories of Bennett’s life.

When asked what inspired the tribute to Tony Bennett, Bruce replied, “I have so much respect for him and his commitment to the Great American Songbook. His musical integrity has never wavered…and of course his longevity, 86 and still working and singing great. A true inspiration.” It’s no secret that Eddie is a fan of jazz standards, and he has also been influenced by “the great ladies of jazz…Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson” as well as “Mr. Sinatra, of course, and I love the great Joe Williams.

Combining his love for jazz, performing, and philanthropy is what makes the upcoming Literacy benefit so special. “I get to play in a beautiful theatre that I truly love, doing a program I truly love, and benefitting the most fundamental cause…” Of course, this isn’t the only cause Bruce supports. Eddie Bruce produces The Kids with Heart Talent Show for Variety: The Children’s Charity in Philadelphia. “It’s an extraordinary event just watching these kids who never get the spotlight and their families who work so hard keeping them going…and that night they are stars!” In 2009, Eddie received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Variety for his years of commitment. He has also worked with The Eagles Fly For Leukemia, Golden Slipper, The Breast Health Institute and The Chef Aid Gala for Manna among others.

As a performer and philanthropist, Eddie Bruce knows what it takes to inspire and be inspired. While his body of work may vary, his passion for entertaining and engaging audiences remains the same.

The Center for Literacy benefit will be held on Monday April 9, 2012 at 7:30pm or call 215-474-1235 #231. To find out more on Eddie Bruce, visit

You may also like

Leave a Reply