Organist/Pianist Gary Brunotte performs his own brand of lyrical jazz, influenced by the tradition but in his own personal voice. Born and raised in a small town in Minnesota, Gary started taking accordion lessons when he was nine and debuted as a professional musician at a New Year's Eve job when he was eleven. He switched to organ and performed with R & B and rock and roll bands as a teenager. He discovered jazz in the late 1960’s and switched to piano while attending Berklee College of Music in the 1970’s.
Today Gary specializes in straight ahead jazz standards, plus original compositions on both piano and organ. He has recorded five CDs as leader. The first was a session with Eric Marienthal on sax, Jimmy Johnson on bass and Bill Berg on drums entitled Yesterday’s Dream . This 1993 received excellent reviews in both Jazz Times and Billboard magazines. His second (Conversations in 2004 with Rick Jones on bass) and third (Smile – in 2005 with Steve Haines on bass and Bill Berg on drums) recordings featured Gary on acoustic piano.
In 2007 Gary switched back to organ to record Manic Moments with several great local musicians from the Triangle. His fifth and most recent CD, About Time, was recorded in 2008 as co-leader with a former Berklee classmate. It successfully made it on the Jazz Week charts receiving a good amount of airplay both nationally and internationally. It features Gary on organ, Gian Wiegner on guitar and various sidemen in the Boston and Raleigh areas.
The following is a list of some of Gary's musical accomplishments:
• Taught at Berklee College of Music in Boston (1977-1980)
• Performed in concert with jazz greats Lionel Hampton, Mark Whitfield, Bobby Shew, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Byron Stripling and Shirley Witherspoon
• Received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1981) to write and perform a suite for big band
• Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Music – Jazz Studies degree from North Carolina Central University (2010)
• Founded Summit Music Publishing (1992) which sold original big band and combo compositions/arrangements to colleges across the country