Bruce arrived on the New York jazz scene in 1988, and soon joined the great tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine; their musical collaboration spanned a decade. Shortly thereafter, he toured Japan with Nat Adderley, and toured Europe and recorded with Vincent Herring’s quintet with Dave Douglas.
In 1990, Bruce joined the Terence Blanchard Quintet; the band toured extensively, and also recorded six CDs, as well as several movie soundtracks. In 1992, Bruce played piano on-screen in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X .
While in Terence Blanchard’s band, Bruce recorded his first two CD’s as a leader, In Focus and Morning Call for the Enja label; both were chosen for the New York Times’ top ten lists. These recordings displayed not only Bruce’s powerfully fluent piano playing, but also the scope of his own compositions and his imaginative arrangements of jazz standards.
Throughout his professional life, Bruce has had extended collaborations with Tony Bennett, Steve Wilson, Terell Stafford, Luciana Souza, and Karrin Allyson and David Sanchez. And he has performed with James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Art Farmer, Victor Lewis, John Patitucci, Lewis Nash, and the Mingus Big Band.