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Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet at Philadelphia Art Alliance

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Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet Philadelphia Art Alliance Philadelphia, PA March 29, 2014 Pivot or persevere? It's a question that frames every moment of jazz performance and one that suffused the Philadelphia Art Alliance loft, where on a rainy Saturday cornetist Bobby Bradford, reedman Frode Gjerstad, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Frank Rosaly cast their bones and divined whatever messages came spontaneously to mind. Under the auspices of the Ars Nova Workshop, which presents a yearly series of jazz and experimental music happenings, the Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet put theory to practice by collapsing any differences ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

John Carter & Bobby Bradford: Tandem

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The music on the double CD Tandem (remastered) was all previously available on two single Emanem CDs, Tandem 1 and Tandem 2, released in 1996. They have now been withdrawn and replaced by this release. In the process the music has been programmed in a more sensible order and, as the album title highlights, the sound of the recordings has been improved. Cook and Morton's The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings said of Tandem 1 that “the sound on these live recordings is pretty deplorable," which has always seemed rather a harsh judgment given that many listeners have enjoyed it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford / Frode Gjerstad / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten / Paal Nilssen-Love: Kampen

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If Kampen sounds like old friends settling down to chew the fat, then that's because that's exactly what's happening. Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad has waxed ten discs in the company of veteran American cornetist Bobby Bradford since they first met on tour with drummer John Stevens in England in 1986. However, this 46-minute live LP stands as one of their best since Through The Woods (CIMP, 1997). All four cuts are spontaneous compositions, the product of collective listening and playing at a very high level. They generate an organic flow which draws on all the available permutations inherent in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vinny Golia Quartet: featuring Bobby Bradford, Ken Filiano and Alex Cline: Take Your Time

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The third recording by this venerable Southern California ensemble yields an abundance of rewarding factors. First, it's a superbly recorded audio engineering process that adds to the depth and nuances of the program. Second, multi-woodwind artist Vinny Golia and his band mates hit their stride in prismatic fashion. Unbound by borders, the musicians' have helped formulate the West Coast musical aura, evidenced by the successful output of the Cryptogramophone and Golia's Nine Winds record labels, with a lineage tracing back to pioneering clarinetist John Carter and pianist Horace Tapscott's sessions for American and European record labels. In the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford / John Carter Quintet: Comin' On

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In a music industry that is for-profit by definition, the relative ignorance of history and the importance of musicians who made it historic borders on the criminally insane. How else could the complete disregard for contributions of Herbie Nichols by the industry be explained? Add to that a slew of greats who continue to be ignored by all but the cognoscenti. Musicians such as Bobby Bradford, John Carter, Billy Bang, Andrew Cyrille and Ed Blackwell, to name just a few--some living and others, regrettably no longer alive. For at least three of these names--Bradford, Carter and Cyrille--things ought to change, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley Quartet featuring Bobby Bradford: Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival

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Prominent USA West Coast jazz artists, saxophonist Rich Halley and cornetist Bobby Bradford, disseminate a restless spirit, boosted by memorable compositions and compelling improvisational jaunts on this 2010 set. Bradford is a living legend via his affiliations with Ornette Coleman and long-running partnership with pioneering clarinetist John Carter. As anticipated, this band does not disappoint. Sparked by commodious passages, surging exchanges and invigorating free-bop sprees, Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival offers the complete package. Halley leads a changeable game plan, with the musicians varying the pitch, altering tempos, and morphing grooves into semi-structured choruses. A major highlight ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley Quartet featuring Bobby Bradford: Live At The Penofin Jazz Festival

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As the title suggests, Live At The Penofin Jazz Festival is a straight-from-the-stage recording, from the 2008 Festival held at Potter Valley, California. It chronicles a fiery, upbeat performance, from the Rich Halley Quartet, that combines composed and improvised music in an interesting and enjoyable set of tunes. Four of the compositions can be found on tenor saxophonist Halley's previous studio albums--three from The Blue Rims (Louie, 2003), and one, “Grey Stones," from Objects (Louie, 2002)--in addition to Streets Below," the set's one new tune. Halley is a veteran player with ten previous albums as leader. Oregon-based, ...

INTERVIEWS

Bobby Bradford: Self-Determination in the Great Basin

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Born in Cleveland, Mississippi in 1934 and raised between Dallas and Los Angeles, trumpeter Bobby Bradford began playing with Ornette Coleman in Los Angeles in the 1950s, and replaced Don Cherry in an unrecorded Coleman quartet during the early 1960s. However, the most significant partnership in Bradford's musical life was with the clarinetist and composer John Carter (1928-1991), with whom he worked and recorded from 1969 into the 1980s a very different brand of free-bop. Now a professor at Pomona College, Bradford continues to lead his Mo'Tet and is being celebrated at the 2009 Festival of the New Trumpet in ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bobby Bradford: With John Stevens and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble

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Bobby Bradford With John Stevens and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble Nessa Records 2009

In the instances that European and American improvisers have commingled and produced concerts and recordings, especially in the halcyon days of European free improvisation (the 1970s), a significant number of these situations resulted from expatriation. And it's certainly true that in many cases, American-born improvisers could have done better financially being based in Europe--after all, this music has a track record of greater appreciation across the pond, especially on the continent.

England was a bit stodgier in its cultural ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford, Tom Heasley, Ken Rosser: Varistar

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Recorded in Los Angeles in 1999, but mixed and released ten years later by tubaist Tom Heasley and Kronos Quartet engineer Scott Fraser, Varistar is a moody and atmospheric work from three experienced improvisers. Its predominantly slow and introspective feel of its seven improvised pieces create, at times, an almost claustrophobic intensity. The opening “Delicious Red" is driven by cornetist Bobby Bradford's fine playing. In fact, Bradford is the most consistently inventive player across the album--Heasley lacks emphasis at times, overpowered by Bradford in particular, while guitarist Ken Rosser can be repetitive. However, both Rosser and Heasley ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Carter / Bobby Bradford Quartet: Seeking

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The New Art Jazz Ensemble was formed in 1964 by John Carter (alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet, flute) and Bobby Bradford (trumpet). They brought in Tom Williamson (bass) and Bruz Freeman (drums) to give structure to their vision: each player listening to and cooperating with the others, contributing to the group's collective expression within the mood and movement of the theme. The quartet assimilated this approach, and by the time this album was recorded in 1969, the musicians shared a cohesive sense of purpose and direction. This was the first recording by the NAJE, presented here as the John Carter/Bobby ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford: Love

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During an extended stay in England in 1973, cornetist Bobby Bradford found kindred musical spirits in reedman Trevor Watts, drummer John Stevens, and bassist Kent Carter. They only recorded once, live during a week’s residency in a Parisian club. Parts of those shows make up Love’s Dream, the latest release of this material from Emanem. Of the six tracks only two are complete, the other four edits. Two tracks are previously unreleased, with all compositions by Bradford.

The title track gets off to an Ornette-ish start. Stevens plays it straight, Carter roams, and Watts leisurely strolls the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford: Love's Dream

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The avant-garde has never really endeared itself to the trumpet. More players seemed to have gravitated towards the snarls of the saxophone or the vox humana quality of the trombone.

Bobby Bradford is a lesser known but no less accomplished member of the progressive trumpet ranks, even replacing Cherry in Ornette Coleman’s band in the early ‘60s. He is best known for a long collaboration with the late clarinetist John Carter, one of the more successful long term relationships in jazz history. Another collaboration that is less known but as compelling, in a much different way, is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Bradford/Francis Wong/William Roper: Purple Gums

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The San Francisco-based Asian Improv label continues to release remarkable sessions with Purple Gums, a wind trio with Bobby Bradford, William Roper, and Francis Wong. The resulting disc shows a band deeply attuned to each other's whims, and skillful in extending musical conversations.

"Baleen and Porpoises" begins with Roper's low notes on tuba. Bradford enters with a cornet fanfare, then Wong, and the two of them chase each other like pups. Roper's round smooth tone and fluency makes him an equal in these group improvisations. Wong introduces "Patois" with short bursts of notes, soon to be joined by Bradford playing ...



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