Neil Bridge, legendary pianist, composer, arranger, band leader, and music educator has passed away at age 94 on December 7.

His wife, muse, soulmate, and vocalist Karen Lee Bridge made the announcement earlier (Tuesday) on Facebook.

Obituary and services announced here.

Due to his work as a former music educator with the Denver Public Schools, there is a room dedicated to Neil at the Denver School for the Arts. Neil created and directed the first Denver City Wide High School Jazz Combo. He and his students received the prestigious Downbeat Award for best High School Jazz Combo in the United States.

Among his former students actors Don Cheadle, Nelson Rangell, Javon Jackson, Gary Sosias, Brad Leali, Ron Miles, Jill Fredericksen, Drummer, Julie Fredericksen, Andrew Hudson,  David Pearl, Byron Hamer, Kelli Cox, and many others.

Neil’s latest CD release is “In the Key of Music” by Neil Bridge & The Pride featuring Karen Lee Bridge, released earlier in 2023. The Bridges performed with five different configurations.

He performed live on KUVO Radio several times, and appears on Live at the Oasis CDs, Volumes 2, 4, 7, and Live! At KUVO – 2000.

Throughout his illustrious career, he has accompanied Mel Torme. Anita O’Day, Nancy Wilson, Dakota Staton, Johnny Smith, The Mills Brothers, Clark Terry, Sonny Stitt, and many more. He is well known for accompanying Johnny Smith (legendary world-class guitar player) for 30 years.

Loved city-wide by the music community, Neil’s nicknames were “EL PUENTE GRANDE,” “MISTA BRIDGE,” and “MAESTRO BRIDGE.”

Neil Bridge earned a Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Master’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Neil is survived by his wife of 31 years, vocalist Karen Lee Bridge.

If you would like to honor Neil Bridge, instead of flowers, you can purchase The Bridge’s most recently released digital album “In The Key of Music” at Neil Bridge Bridge

Photo credit: Sal DeVincenzo Photography; Group photo taken on April  16, 2023 – Neil’s last visit to KUVO studios – back to front/left to right: Arturo Gómez, Arvida Rascón, Paul Donovan, Neil Bridge, Tina Cartagena, & Karen Lee

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