We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Lee Bruns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason Lee, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success and brand is that I did my own thing. I did this by not trying to mimic everyone else and “fit in” but rather to just follow my heart and passions and do it my way with how I wanted to do it. Then to make it happen, I put together a very talented team to bring my vision to fruition in the best way possible. So basically a unique idea + a solid team = success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I play the drum set and many percussions instruments from South America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. I’ve traveled to several countries studying influential folkloric rhythms in their indigenous settings, amongst the people & cultures in which the rhythms originally existed. This makes my musical training and knowledge unique and culturally aware. These field-research trips were not easy, including many obstacles in traveling, adapting, surviving, and staying safe (I’ve had some close calls!). In addition, I am a classical & jazz trained musician and composer too. So I have the “tribal” feel and ideas from the field-research paired with the musical academics (music theory, arranging, reading & writing music notation, etc…) from my formal training. Most players usually have one or the other and I have both. I do not come from a rich family so I had to make my own way and work really hard to earn enough money to make these trips and schooling happen. My last trip was supposed to be in Zimbabwe during April to further immerse myself in the study of the mbira instrument (African thumb piano) but that was canceled due to the pandemic.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
L.A. has so much to offer that even after having lived here for almost 20 years I am still making discoveries. But for sure I would take them to some big ticket items such as The Getty Center Museam, LACMA, Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, Grand Central Market, Historic Down Town, and Angels Flight, maybe hit a rooftop bar such as the Ace Hotel, a day at Santa Monica pier and Venice boardwalk. Really, so many great things to do in L.A.!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents raised me with an incredible work ethic where I always had to earn what I received, so I’d like to thank them for instilling those values and grit in me. Also, I’ve been lucky to have many incredible music teachers and mentors growing up including my high school band director Don Donnett. Private lessons in high school with Ray Weiner, John Taylor, and Cliff Bowerman. Then at the college level during undergrad at Miami University (OH) with Dr. Chris Tanner and Dr. Bill Albin, and during Grad School at USC with Terri Lyne Carrington, Aaron Serfaty, and Peter Erskine.
Scott Mitchell Mike Quain Jim Whiting