Welcome to cliffbruckermusic



Cliff Brucker, Drummer-Percussionist, Pianist, Keyboardist,  Composer, Producer, Arranger and Educator. 

Cliff has a B.M. in Music from The Crane School of Music at Potsdam State College and a M.S. in Music from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. 

Cliff has been performing as a professional musician for over 5 decades!  

As a well-respected musician by his peers, Cliff has worked with some of the finest talent in the Capital District including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Capital Region Wind Ensemble, and the Empire Jazz Orchestra. He has also performed with a variety of internationally known jazz and pop artists including  Aretha Franklin, Buddy Greco, Bob Mintzer, Ray Vega and Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack.

Cliff is also an award-winning composer and producer of industrial music, advertising jingles and multimedia production. His credits include Avis, National Hobby, and is the music behind New York State’s “C.S.E.A., We’re your Work Force!” He has written and produced the new official song of Schenectady called "Schenectady's the Place".

Cliff has been a  member of the music faculty at Schenectady County Community College for 15 years and previously The College of Saint Rose for 14 years. He is the 2015 recipient of the SUNY Chancellors Award for excellence in adjunct teaching. Cliff is an experienced lecturer in the fields of classical, jazz and rock music in addition to teaching theory, history, songwriting, improv methods and ensemble classes.


Musical Businesses

Professional songwriter and producer of industrial music, jingles and commercials both TV and Radio.

Cliff & Friends is my Jazz/Pop/R&B Duo/Trio

Full Circle

This is my six piece jazz ensemble featuring world class musicians. We have two recordings out and are active in the concert and jazz club arenas.

Full Circle Vol. 1 and 2

Cliff Brucker Full Circle featuring Leo Russo Vol. 2

This project brings together once again world class musicians I have worked with over the past 35 years. The music on this CD is again interpretations of some of the classic jazz standards that musicians have been playing for decades plus one original composition written by our trumpet player entitled appropriately enough, "Full Circle"! I hope everyone will enjoy this very accessible and swinging recording!

The album of course features and celebrates the great sax player Leo Russo. Leo will turn 81 years old on our final recording date and he is still one of the greatest musicians to ever come out of the capital district. I have worked with Leo for over 20 years and consider him not only a great friend but a musical mentor. I have learned so much from Leo just being on the bandstand and hearing him play night after night. He has a sound and a sense of musicality that he alone possesses! No one plays like him. As soon as he starts to play you know it's Leo!!

My dear friend and fellow Crane School of Music alum, pianist Larry Ham. Larry has been all over the world playing with a whole roster of musical giants including Illinois Jacket, Lionel Hampton, Dakota Staton and Rene Fleming. A beautiful player with an inventive palette of harmonic colors and swinging inventive melodic lines. Larry is the epitome of a great player, always seeming to play just the right thing whether it is comping, accompanying or soloing. A beautiful touch and sense of musicality, Larry is a special player.

Dylan Canterbury is the future of jazz. At 30, Dylan plays like a jazz master of the highest order. He can play along side anyone. His deep understanding of jazz history, harmony and melodic improvisation. He has the range of a lead player and the sound of any of the trumpet legends that he funnels through his fertile brain! He is also an accomplished composer and arranger writing for such famous ensembles as the Lincoln Jazz Orchestra and the John Faddis Big Band.

Mike Novakowski is a special guitarist that is in high demand in the regional jazz community. Mike performs with the Empire Jazz Orchestra as well as the Teresa Broadwell Band and anyone else lucky enough to book him. Mike plays tasty lines and swings in the tradition of Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. Mike and I play together in a Jazz Organ Trio called WeeB3. It is always a pleasure to have his tasty guitar comping and soloing in any musical setting.

Otto Gardner has been the first call bass player in the capital region for decades. Otto is a master jazz bassist. His sense of pulse and time is outstanding. As rhythm section players Otto and I fit together like hand in glove. I don't have to worry or even think about time and groove, it's just there! Otto has played with everyone from a wide variety of jazz legends to local artists including the Empire Jazz Orchestra who are "Artists in Residence" at Schenectady County Community College.

Pete Levin has cut his chops in important bands with Gil Evans and Jimmy Giuffre, plus his own touring band with bassist-brother Tony, keyboard wizard Pete Levin adds his pianistic touch on three tracks on Vol. 2, Step Lightly, Emily and Full Circle. His own newest release is the critically acclaimed CD, Mobius.

As for me, this CD represents my 2nd release under my own name and a return to my first love, the drum set! I hope you enjoy the music. It was performed with joy and love and I think that comes through as you listen to it. Thanks, Cliff Brucker

Some observations by renowned Music Programers, DJs, critics and musicians:

"Excitingly propulsive and accessibly melodic Post-Bop sextet"….Tom Pierce Albany Jazz.com

"Tasty,  swinging,  and right in the pocket."  -Bill McCann, Sat. Jazz show WCDB

Full Circle is an incredible band that features some of the area’s finest jazz musicians performing to heights of musical excellence that have to be heard to believe. 

With great players and very hip charts this is a group that all jazz fans need to experience!  

-Paul Evoskevich Director of Jazz Studies The College of St. Rose, Albany, NY

Cliff Brucker has assembled a true all-star band of some of New York State’s finest musicians. When players of this caliber play great tunes the result is pure magical and undiluted jazz!  

-Dr. Bill Meckley, Dean of The SCCC School of Music and Director of the Empire Jazz Orchestra

Fabulous classic jazz, bop and postbop band emanating from the Hudson area to The Capital Region NY. Swinging six piece ensemble with exceptional rhythm section lead by Cliff Brucker and virtuosic soloists including the legendary Leo Russo! 

-Dr. Joseph Jewell celebrated Southern California guitarist and Professor of Jazz Guitar Fullerton College. 

I very seldom use the word great when giving my opinion because I believe I know what is and is not. And most LOCAL CDS are not. Some are very very good but not quite the level of great…..TILL NOW.... I have to say this cd is GREAT!

 It surpasses all local music and stands shoulder to shoulder with all national AND international music I've heard.  - Gene Garone, celebrated veteran drummer/percussionist and stalwart of the capital region music scene

Even better than Volume One. "Aregin" swings like nobody's business, and the way the great Leo Russo caresses "Emily" will bring a tear to your eye. These guys are so good it's scary!

 -Tim Coakley, Sat. night Jazz Show on WAMC

Drummer CLIFF BRUCKER and his sextet FULL CIRCLE are a hard swinging mainstream group of musicians from the Albany, New York area who are nicely represented on two albums, Full Circle and Full Circle Vol. 2, (BMP).   This is music that is wonderfully listenable, accessible to almost any listener, while full of playing that will be satisfying for the more astute jazz enthusiasts.  Each of the players has swing in their blood, and let their creative instincts flow freely.  It is especially nice to become exposed to the veteran saxman Russo who certainly deserves wider recognition.  If you dig straight-ahead blowing that swings incessantly, Full Circle is the group for you. -Joseph Lang -Jersey Jazz Journal




Other Music Services


Cliff & Friends Duo/Trio

As you know from my resume above I am also an accomplished pianist/keyboard player. 

My duo or trio can provide great jazz and pop/R&B standards for an intimate club setting or special event. 

Featuring vocalists such as Teresa Burns, Mia Scirocco, or Bob Father and the area's leading sax players we perform easy listening grooves from Sinatra/Diane Krall style to Motown and Bonnie Raitt.

Industrial Music, Jingles and Video Scoring

Having worked with the fabulous agency, Nowak and Associates since 1993 I have been producing music for such entities as CSEA, New York's Leading Union and many others. 

Still active in this musical arena I am available for music production. 

In 2016 I wrote and produced the New Official Song of Schenectady with the assistance of Schenectady County Community College's Vianna Brignola Studio. Student singers and faculty musicians helped bring this song to life with the masterful engineering of Sten Isachsen.

"Schenectady's The Place" was proclaimed the city's new official song in a resolution by the Schenectady City Council.

Some of these works are available to sample in the MP3 section. 

Cliff & Friends is the Jazz/Pop Duo/Trio

CSEA samples are the industrial production music

Upcoming Events

Thank you all for coming to Van Slykes in the Rivers  Casino Sunday March 11th to help us celebrate our new release, Full Circle Vol. 2. It was great and the band was cookin' and everyone who came shared a wonderful afternoon of jazz with us. Thank you again for your support. 

On Sat. April 14th Full Circle will be part of the AFM Union Jazz Celebration Concert at Proctors Theater's Robb Alley. We will be performing in the 5:30-7pm time slot. Nate Giroux,  Pete Toigo and Wayne Hawkins will be playing in for Leo, Otto and Larry Ham/Pete Levin. All killer players in their own right!

Our next show Full Circle will perform a concert on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, NY. The concert will begin at 7:30 PM. 

Cliff and Friends are back at the Renaissance Restaurant in Sch'dy for our regular ( every!)Sunday Jazz Brunch with Mia Scirocco and Nate Giroux from 11:30-2:30pm. Great food. price and great music! Hope to see you there.

Leo Russo and I will be featured guest artists at the Final Empire Jazz Orchestra concert at SCCC on April 17th. Don't want to miss this one!! Reserve tickets please, this concert directed by the founder of the band and retiring Dean of Music, Bill Meckley, will sell out for sure!!

Also on the 19th of April I will have the privilege of filling in for my buddy and swingin' drummer Mike Benedict with the Phil Allen Concert Big Band at The Troy Kitchen. This is THE premier working jazz Big Band today. Amazing charts and virtuoso players. Check this out for sure!!  Also free admittance. 

Following the success of our CD release concert at Van Slykes in The Rivers Casino, they are starting a trial Sunday Jazz series for the month of June from 5-8pm. We will be kicking off the series starting on June 3rd and the great Pete Levin will be back with us. Please  come and support all of these Sundays to keep jazz alive in the Electric city. The Rivers Casino WILL continue this IF we can get the jazz community to come down and support. Otherwise complacency will destroy the momentum for a great opportunity to keep ALL regional jazz artists working. 

Finally for now, Full Circle Featuring the great Leo Russo will be featured in the prestigious "Place for Jazz" lineup this Fall. Our brother and original Full Circle pianist Larry Ham will be back with us. Our date will be Oct. 5th. Other artist's include Shirell Casidy and Amet Cohen and more!


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My CDs can be purchased on CDBaby, Itunes and Amazon.