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Geof Bradfield: African Flowers (2010)

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Geof Bradfield: African Flowers Saxophonist Geof Bradfield's experiences traveling and performing in Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe in 2008 were the inspiration for African Flowers. Bradfield was a member of pianist Ryan Cohan
Ryan Cohan
Ryan Cohan
b.1971
piano
's quartet, and the band took part in a US State Department/Jazz at Lincoln Center tour. This extended work for sextet features excellent writing and strong musicianship from Cohan, guitarist Jeff Parker
Jeff Parker
Jeff Parker

guitar
, trumpeter Victor Garcia, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer George Fludas.

African Flowers follows the quartet release Urban Nomad (Origin, 2008) and Bradfield's stunning trio debut, Rule Of Three (Liberated Zone Records, 2003).

While Africa was the inspiration for this release; this is not world music. Better described as "jazz world music," Bradfield connects the dots between African folk music and the American jazz tradition. The opening "Butare," based on a Rwandan praise song, conjures thoughts of Don Cherry
Don Cherry
Don Cherry
1936 - 1995
trumpet
and, with Bradfield hoisting a soprano saxophone, there are a few passing references to John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's "My Favorite Things."

The evidence that American jazz contains African DNA is not disputed these days—from the blues to swing, the seeds that germinated in United States soil were planted centuries ago in Africa. Bradfield's fluid suite travels seamlessly, with some agile interludes provided by piano, drum and bass solos. On the touching ballad "The Children's Room," written after a visit to the genocide memorial in Rwanda, Bradfield switches to bass clarinet; his woody sound mingling with Sommers' resonating bass and Garcia's mournful trumpet.

Bradfield returns to tenor for the Congolese Rhumba, "Lubumbashi." Attentive ears might place this piece not in Africa but somewhere closer, perhaps Cuba or Puerto Rico. While Fludas drives the clavé, the horns dance around the threading needle of Parker's guitar notes. Elsewhere, the music may be called taarab; a blend from Africa, Middle East, and Europe, but the sound on "Nairobi Transit" evokes the mighty Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
and his muscular brand of hard bop.

Bradfield's excellent jazz adventure into Africa ultimately leads right back home. Funny, how small this world actually is. This is one beautiful record.


Track Listing: Butare; Piano Solo; The Children's Room; Lubumbashi; Mama Yemo; Drum Solo; Nairobi Transit; Prelude; Kampala; Bass Solo; The Nurse From Nairobi; Harare/Leaving Africa.

Personnel: Geof Bradfield: tenor saxophone, soprano sxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Ryan Cohan: piano; Jeff Parker: guitar; Victor Garcia:trumpet, flugelhorn, congas, percussion; Clark Sommers: bass; George Fludas: drums, percussion.

Record Label: Origin Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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Download jazz mp3 “Central Avenue” by Geof Bradfield Download jazz mp3 “Urban Nomad” by Geof Bradfield

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