Cecil Bridgewater's 30 years of experience include roles as composer, arranger, and soloist with the Max Roach Quartet and Double Quartet. Prior to this, he was a member of Horace Silver's Quintet and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. He has also shared the stage and/or studio with Lena Horne, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson, and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, to name a few.
Cecil Bridgewater is a trumpeter who realizes the lineage of the trumpet and has an appreciation for its place in contemporary music, Cecil explores his artistic depth on hisrecent release Mean What You Say (Brownstone Recordings, 1998). His illustrious career began with the musical training he received from his parents in Illinois, where he grew up. His father, a trumpet player, inspired him to study trumpet. Also, he performed with and wrote for the high school dance band and played weekend gigs with band leader/uncle Pete Bridgewater.
After study at the University of Illinois, he went to Chicago for further study and professional performances. After a two-year tour of duty with the Army, he toured with the University of Illinois Jazz Band in Eastern Europe and Russia. They made the rounds at the Newport Jazz Festival and several prestigious collegiate jazz festivals, most notably the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, where Cecil was the recipient of the Best Trumpet, Best Overall Musician, Best Small Group, and Best Big Band awards.
Cecil moved to New York in 1970, where he established himself as an international artist. His recognition increased exponentially after joining the Horace Silver Quintet and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and working as a soloist, writer, arranger and musical consultant with Max Roach. Cecil's compositions have been recorded and performed by Max Roach, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lena Horne, Vanessa Rubin, the Uptown String Quartet, and the Count Basie Orchestra, among others. He has received commissions from the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Atlanta Arts Festival, University of Illinois, JazzMobile, and Meet the Composers that produced the “Cannonball” Adderley Suite that had its premiere in February 1994 in Los Angeles. It has subsequently been performed in March 1996 in Washington, D.C.; in May 1996 at the Atlanta Jazz Festival; and in September 1996 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Cecil Bridgewater received a Grammy nomination for his arrangement, "Undecided," on Dee Dee Bridgewater's Grammy Award–winning CD Dear Ella. He coproduced with Vanessa Rubin her RCA/Novus CD, which is a tribute to Carmen McRae, entitled I'm Glad There is You and Antonio Hart's RCA/Novus CD, entitled It's All Good. He has produced three CDs for Michael Carvin: Revelation, Between Me and You, and First Time; two for the Uptown String Quartet: Just Wait A Minute, and Max Roach Presents the Uptown String Quartet. “I've had opportunities to work with some of the greatest trumpet players,” Max Roach says, “from Roy Eldridge, Charlie Shavers, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, ‘Fats’ Navvaro, Kenny Dorham, Booker Little, and Clifford Brown. I've appreciated Cecil, like the others, for his distinctiveness and strong identity.”
Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1991.