Guitarist, composer, and singer-songwriter Adrian Bridges, a versatile musician steeped in the many traditions of Western music, has found his calling adapting American roots music for the 21st century. He draws on the language of the blues, adapting the organic music to more formal structures, creating a sound that is simultaneously familiar and fresh.
Growing up in Philadelphia as the son of a longtime radio DJ, whose family roots extend to New Orleans, Adrian was exposed to a diverse catalog of American music, including rock, bluegrass, zydeco, and soul. However, it was at age four, upon participating in a school performance of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night,” that his passion for music really took off. At that point, Adrian immersed himself in the early classic rock of The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and The Beach Boys. The Beatles’ mix of popular rhythms and harmony with highly structured development remain a great influence on him to this day.
At age six, Adrian began his formal training in music, studying classical guitar at Philadelphia’s esteemed Settlement Music School, where he would continue through high school. He moved to New York to pursue a bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar at New York University, where he was honored as a Presser Scholar and graduated summa cum laude.
He completed his master’s in composition at NYU as well, studying with Ezequiel Viñao, focusing on jazz-inflected concert compositions. Building on the 1950s/60s third stream movement and updating it to include a more rhythmically-oriented vocabulary. Seeking to erase the boundaries between classical and jazz, Adrian has been writing music which combines the more structured nature of the former with grooves and harmonies more frequently found in the latter.
As a versatile instrumentalist, proficient in a wide variety of styles on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass, Adrian has found a home in the world of musical theater, playing for numerous productions, including Once We Lived Here (Australian Made Entertainment), Dreamgirls, Rent! (The Gallery Players), and ¡Olé! (Theater In Asylum). As a music director and composer, he’s also helped shape productions for Less Than Rent Theater (Little Town Blues, Diva–winner of Best Musical and Audience Favorite at The 2013 United Solo Theatre Festival) and Kaleid Theatre (Eurydice, Glow, No Place Like, Take/Sacrifice).
As a guitarist, Adrian has also had the opportunity to tour Italy with his jazz group, The Afterthought Quartet, playing top venues across the country such as The Blue Note in Milan, Ferrara’s Torrione Jazz Club, Take Five Jazz Club in Bologna, and The Florence International Music Festival. He can regularly be found performing around New York in musical theater productions and with various groups, including the hip-hop collective Izzy Man & The Plan.