In Memoriam: Bruce Nazarian

Posted on by Larry

Nazarian_BruceLast Friday (Oct. 9, 2015) I received word that Bruce Nazarian died of a heart attack while editing music at his computer. For those who knew Bruce, as I was fortunate to do, I can’t imagine a better way for him to leave us.

But this is still a very sad event.

For those who didn’t know him, Bruce Nazarian was born in Detroit, MI, and was a funk and rock musician, recording artist and music producer. He was an active member of the Contemporary Jazz music scene in Los Angeles, and the respected producer and presenter of The Digital Guy Radio Show, heard weekly on Solar Radio in the UK.

During his many years as a Detroit studio musician, he shared studios and sessions with many of the legendary names in the Motor City’s amazing music history: David Ruffin, Johnnie Taylor, Barrett Strong, Anita Baker, the Spinners, and many others. He toured as bass player with Automatix and Brownsville Station, and pioneered digital sequencing and dance music in the 1980’s. (Here’s a link to Bruce’s personal music bio.)

Whenever we talked, which was often, I was impressed with his deep love of music, especially jazz. For those who want to see Bruce truly enjoying himself while playing, watch this clip.

Bruce was never happier than when he had a guitar in his hand and an audience to perform for. And his joy brought joy to the rest of us.

However, music is not how I remember him best. I first met Bruce in 2007 at an LA Final Cut Pro User Group meeting. It was a time when DVDs were the dominant form of media distribution and Blu-ray Discs were starting to appear. Bruce taught himself both technologies so well that he was the definitive go-to resource for the rest of us.

I became the host of the Digital Production Buzz podcast in November, 2007. Bruce was one of the first guests we invited onto the program, Dec. 27, 2007. That was to be the first of his 59 appearances on The Buzz over the next eight years. His last appearance was May 7, 2015, talking about new technology he helped develop for one of the major studios creating on-demand DVDs for movie distribution.

In recent years, like all of us, Bruce struggled to figure out where technology was going; especially when it came to making and selling music. I remember many phone conversations where Bruce would enthusiastically describe a new artist he was working with, new music he was creating, or the Lemonade Jazz Festival he was trying to get off the ground.

Bruce was small in stature, but huge in spirit. He was always willing to answer a question, explain a complex piece of technology, or just lend a helping hand. I learned something every time I talked with him; and I’m grateful for each opportunity.

He was an amazing guy, an immense resource and a good friend. He will be missed.

The Digital Production Buzz created this video tribute to Bruce. Watch it here.

NOTE: To learn more about Bruce, visit his Wikipedia page.

17 Responses to In Memoriam: Bruce Nazarian

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  1. I am stunned to learn that we have lost Bruce. He has been a wonderful colleague and friend for over a decade, and earlier this year he finished authoring what may have been his final DVD. Of course, it was/is a music DVD, although the music is classical. Bruce and I collaborated tirelessly on every aspect of this DVD’s audio and video, and Bruce was even able to author an amazing first-ever classical music video puzzle, which will give the world a final chance to know his inimitable artistry, skill, and talent. By the way, the DVD Bruce completed is called the Tropical Sweets® Classical Music Video Adventure and you can find it on Bruce was very proud of this DVD and I was so very fortunate to have had the honor of working on it with him. I emailed Bruce several times over the past few weeks and I was concerned when I didn’t hear back. I had planned to send Bruce a copy of the finished edition of this DVD and was emailing him simply to confirm his mailing address. Since I only learned of Bruce’s passing a few minutes ago, I am in a state of shock and disbelief. I have lost a dear friend and colleague, and the music and media world has lost a humble genius who was one of the kindest and most talented human beings I have ever known. Bruce, you will never be forgotten and your artistry will touch the lives of countless people as the future unfolds. I miss you, my friend… With a profound sense of loss, Bill Patterson

  2. Howard Silver says:

    He was so generous with his knowledge of DVD authoring and other expertise. I learned a great deal from his various posts.

  3. Martin R. says:

    Here it is March 28th 2016 and I find myself often thinking about Bruce. He and I first met in 1986 at a Synclaiver Symposium at Dartmouth College. We both ended up moving to los Angeles around 1990 where we continued our friendship and at times worked together on a few projects. We also worked hard to try and save the Synclavier from extinction but ultimately couldn’t save it due to faster cheaper technology. I miss him and wish I could speak to him about what technology they have up there in heaven. I’m sure he could explain it in a way I could understand it, as only he could do.
    RIP Bruce.

  4. Jayasri (Joyce) Hart says:

    I had no idea until a colleague asked a DVD Studio Pro question which I couldn’t answer, and as I’d been doing for years, I went to Bruce’s site. I don’t know who I’ll go to now! His great gift to me was that no project was too small and no problem too insignificant for him. He spent hours on the phone guiding me through my early DVD builds and formats–and introduced me to a lot of music in the process. I’m sure I speak for the many like me out there whose lives he touched with his graciousness. Thank you, Bruce, and RIP!

  5. David Chavers says:

    I really enjoyed the Beezer’s work in the 8th Day and Was (Not Was), and especially his guitar work and vocal work on Brownsville Station’s last two albums. His lead singing on their near hit Lady (Put the Light On Me) are raw and powerful, much like Cub Koda’s deliver.

  6. Fred Nazarian says:

    To: Larry Jordan and all who contributed to this very nice memorial to my brother, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I just stumbled across this March 12, 2021 and am sad I didn’t find it sooner.

    Again, thanks to all who were Bruce’s friends!

    • Larry says:


      Bruce was one of the good guys. We worked together many times. He was informed, fun to talk with, and someone who cared deeply about others. I think of him frequently.

      He is still missed.


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