Bruce Conte



I started playing professionally at 13 years old. When I was 16, I had a #1 hit record in my Hometown with a band called Road Runner.  In the old days, DJ’s would play your record for a little money.


My Cousin, Victor Conte and I started a band called Common Ground and played in the local Club scene where we developed our R&B and Jazz styles from 1967 – 1969


In 1970 I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to join a local band called Loading Zone along with member Tom Coster (from Santana), Linda Tillary, Tony Smith and Doug Rauch.  We had three albums out and played The Fillmore and we opened up for Tower of Power.  We also shared a rehearsal hall with them and a bond began to form.  I started to co-write songs with Emilo and Doc of Tower of Power and in September of 1972, they hired Lenny Pickett and I from the Loading Zone.  I started with Tower of Power and played on 8 Albums.  It was one of my life’s greatest musical experiences. 
In 1979, Victor Conte and I started a band called Jump Street featuring Gavin Christopher.  We were Managed by Herbie Hancock’s Manager David Robinson. Our record deal ultimately fell through.  Since it didn’t materialize, the band broke up in 1981.  I then joined forces with legendary singer Lydia Pense of the group Cold Blood.
I was involved with Lydia for 24 months, and then in 1983 I started a small quintet and worked the Bay Area club scene in a band called Hot Street.  In 1984, I got a house gig at a Bay Area night club called Frenchy’s and had a slick R&B show band called Power Play.  We recorded two albums, in which I co-wrote songs and played guitar, that were never released.  We then started working 9 months per year for Hilton Hotels in Reno and Las Vegas.  Within a two-year period, the group got burned out.  In 1986 I was getting jobs in Casino’s and the money was good, the work consistent so it was hard to leave that circuit. 
I worked a house gig at the Peppermill in Reno, Nevada for one year with Detroit based singer Tommy Bell.  In 1987 I joined a group called Sante Fe with band leader Jerry Lopez (who is currently working with Ricky Martin) and moved to Las Vegas.
In 1988, I sold my home in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles.  I started playing with local drummer, Sal Rodriguez, currently with the group War and also Bobby Espinosa, current leader with the group El Chicano.  I have spent 10 years, made one album entitled Painting the Moment with El Chicano in which I co-wrote and played guitar.  In 1999 I was featured on a Rhino Records release entitled Anthology by Tower of Power.  I have recorded three solo albums:  'Right From My Heart' (Jazz) in October of 1997, "Rumor Has It" (Jazz) released in the fall of 1999 and "Rhythm Meets The Blues." (Blues) which was released late in the year of 2000.  I recorded and co-wrote with Rick Braun on his album Full Stride, a song entitled Moonshot, which is being played on Smooth Jazz Stations through out the United Sates.  I also recorded with Rocco Prestia for Rocco's solo CD, Everybody on the Bus was most recently launched the Summer of 2001.  I have played music for the last 37 years and am looking forward to many more years to come.  Summer 2001 signed a recording contract with an East Coast Blues label.



Blues On Stage (

CD Review
Bruce Conte
Bullet Proof
(2002 Severn Records - CD-0015)
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: April 2002
Bruce Conte's name should be recognized well outside the blues idiom, coming from a tenure of seven years and eight recordings with Tower Of Power, but there's little question that his efforts work seamlessly with a blues-roux as the main ingredient. Originally worked up in 2000, this previously unreleased, self-produced offering has everything necessary to garner a wide audience.
"Too Much Cool" leads off with a funky groove and the rasping vocals of Gavin Christopher (formerly of Rufus) while Conte steps up with some solid blues chops on guitar, and Ellis Hall exercises his gripping voice for "Nowhere To Go," with a back-and-forth feel that settles into an R&B workout. "I Met A Girl" features Ed Reddick  at the microphone on a stop-time blues with fine horn charts and more excellent guitar from Conte's battered Les Paul, and Bobby Kimball (Toto) puts out some hefty singing on "Chasin' The Blues," which also features Andre Roberson's simmering sax work. Christopher has the spotlight on the New Orleans-flavored "Mojo Mambo" and "Just Won't Act Right," a sizzling shuffle, shows Tim Scott to be a potent singer, while Windy Barnes opens the furnace door for "Too Sad To Sing The Blues," her vocals a standout. Conte takes his first of two spots singing on the slow and gripping original, "It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn," and there's little doubt his voice has the ability to be as spellbinding as his guitar, while Lenny Williams, former Tower Of Power bandmate, takes the point for the title track offering striking, soulful vocals. The Chuck Willis gem, "Feel So Bad," finds Conte behind the microphone once again, and makes one wonder why his voice only shows up twice, he's simply that good. There's a definite Tower Of Power feel on "There's Room At The Top" with Gavin Christopher handling the lead spot for his third track, and closing out with Junior Wells' classic, "Snatch It Back And Hold It," nearly vocal-less, gives Conte more room to stretch out.
Tower Of Power was one of the more impressive bands from a number of years ago to make the charts while using blues for its foundation, and Bruce Conte's work then was no more stellar than here, on "Bullet Proof." His guitar abilities seem endless, yet there's no grandstanding, and as a producer, he has managed to bring the absolute best out of the wide and varied cast on this CD. Carrying a band of at least a dozen people, to handle the excellent variety on this offering, probably won't happen on the festival or spotlight club circuit, but with Conte's soul-drenched pipes, he could strip back the fat and still be a showstopper with half that number.
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