Leo Bruce Hopewell, Sr. earned his accounting degree at Baruch College (City University of New York) and became an auditor at the Internal Revenue Service followed by a 14-year stint as a tax and field auditor with the New York State Tax Commission. This experience carried over when he launched his own financial tax practice and AFTRA/SAG talent agency. Bruce managed and produced many well-known jazz artists and served as their accountant, financial adviser, and tax return preparer providing important financial guidance in their personal and professional lives.
Some of Hopewell’s financial jazz client roster over the years included: Kenny Burrell (Hopewell produced his first jazz concert at Town Hall, NY 1965) Dorothy Donegan, Jon Hendricks, Ahmad Jamal, Roy Haynes, Tommy Flanagan, Billy Higgins, Chico Hamilton, Taj Mahal, Carol Sloane, Slide Hampton, Andrew Hill, Cedar Walton, and Richard Davis, among others. In addition to assisting these musicians with their finances he also managed and produced many of them, including Ray Charles and Milt Jackson in concert at Avery Fisher Hall in NYC. Bruce Hopewell was the accountant for Jimmy Hendrix, filing his final estate tax return and the Executor of the Art Farmer Estate.
In 2001, Bruce Hopewell moved to California, while maintaining his NYC residence across the street from the cultural mecca of Lincoln Center. Upon arriving in Napa, he became a Board of Trustee member of the Napa Valley Opera House and assisted in increasing jazz exposure to their programming. In 2007, while having a conversation in his living room, Bruce became a Founder of the Napa Valley Jazz Society. He also filed for an obtained the not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) for NVJS. Through his association and friendship with Margrit Mondavi, they found they shared a mutual love for jazz. Margrit supported the NVJS by offering Mondavi Winery for two complimentary concerts each year. Bruce and NVJS have produced Kenny Burrell, Paula West, Randy Weston, and Cyrus Chestnut, amongst others, at Mondavi Winery.
Mr. Hopewell was asked to give presentations to jazz audiences on his experiences in the world of Jazz. As requested by the SHEDD Institute of Eugene, Oregon (2011) he provided Roads Scholars and audiences a unique insight into the life, jazz, and notoriety of Ada “Bricktop” Smith.
In 2013, the Napa Valley Museum requested that Mr. Hopewell, provide audiences an insider’s view into the life of Miles Davis in conjunction with a showing of the Davis family’s collection of the artwork of Miles Davis. Mr. Hopewell highlighted that infamous August 1959 evening when Miles was arrested by NYC Police. His uncle, the Honorable Carson DeWitt Baker, served as Miles Davis’ attorney and Mr. Davis was acquitted of all charges.
Mr. Hopewell’s associated with Dexter Gordon, Dexter’s widow, Maxine Gordon, and son Woody Shaw resulted in him serving as the Treasurer for The Dexter Gordon Society. After several meetings in Mr. Hopewell’s NYC residence he agreed to serve as financial advisor to Ms. Gordon and also filed and obtained the 501(c)(3) for the Dexter Gordon Society.