Bruce Johnstone

Bruce Johnstone b.Sept 1st 1943 Wellington New Zealand.Bruce Johnstone’s first exposure to American audiences was as a member of Maynard Ferguson’s band in 1972. He recorded three albums with the Ferguson Band which, along with live concert appearances placed him in the #3 spot in Down Beat Magazine’s Readers Poll behind Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams. He held this position for the next ten years.

Leaving Ferguson in 1976, he moved to N.Y., signed with Arista’s new Freedom label and with co-leaders Rick Petrone and Joe Corsello formed the new Jazz Fusion band New York Mary. Both albums produced by this band met with great critical success. While in N.Y. Bruce also recorded with Anthony Braxton (Creative Orchestra Music 1976) with blues singer Luther Allison. (The horn section being Michael and Randy Brecker, Lew DelGatto and Bruce Johnstone.) In 1977 Bruce joined The Woody Herman Band and toured and recorded with the band until April 1978.

Since 1978, he has lived and worked in Western N.Y.(primarily Buffalo N.Y. and Erie PA) and maintains a busy concert/clinic schedule including appearances with The Dave Stevens Big Band, The Buffalo Brass, The Erie Philharmonic Pops, The Bemus Bay Pops, his own small groups and with The Don Menza Octet. He is currently Director of Jazz Studies at SUNY Fredonia.

Prior to coming to the States with Ferguson, Bruce had had solid musical careers in Copenhagen Denmark where he played with Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon. London England where he was a studio musician. Sydney Australia where he was a studio musician and Assistant Musical Director at a prominent Sydney Nightclub called Chequers, and Wellington New Zealand, where he was a member of the NZBC Radio Big Band while still in High School.


Bruce’s set up:


  • Selmer MkVI Baritone (Low Bb)
  • Aaron Drake Ceramic Hybrid with a .125 tip opening
  • #3 1/2 Alexander Superial D.C. reeds

Email Bruce Johnstone



  1. Keith R. Starkey

    Man, it just doesn’t get better than this! Thanks, Bruce!

  2. Mike Andersen

    For his intense tone and funky rhythms, Bruce Johnston remains The Boss as far as I’m concerned. When I saw him live and listened him on Maynard’s recordings, it’s as if one man had the effect of a second drummer and additional lead horn all in one, driving hard from below and equally able ride on top. A pillar among saxophone players!

  3. John Danelson

    The Bad Man.

  4. Occupant

    Man o man o man! The Boss Hoss of any sax section! I always raved over anything he did with Maynard, especially seeing them live in Dallas sometime after Live at Jimmy’s and before Chameleon was released. Maybe the tallest and skinniest guy to blow a bari, and how he did it back then is anybody’s guess. He kinda looked like a drug user that day, or maybe it just took sooooo much out of him to play that big horn. Thanks to you folks who keep this site alive. Gives me the idea to start And y’all can come read about Bruce over there as well, someday.

  5. Craig m.

    Bruce, Pete, Andy, Lin, Rick,and the rest of that band made up a very special time in Jazz Jistory. Stan Kenton made Mayne a star and than like so many others, He helped make Bruce a star as well. Listen to utubes, Maynard In Concert, tells it all and makes Bruce shine like nothing after. Go Bruce keep new age Big Band alive.

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