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Geof Bradfield

Born in Houston, TX, saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield has shared the stage throughout North America, Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East with jazz luminaries such as Randy Weston, Carl Allen, Brian Blade, Rodney Whitaker, Etienne Charles, Joe Locke, and Orrin Evans. He also performs and records regularly with fellow Chicago artists including Dana Hall, Clark Sommers, Jeff Parker, Matt Ulery, Marquis Hill, and Ryan Cohan, to name a few. His work is featured on 50+ CDs, including six albums as a leader that have garnered critical accolades from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Downbeat, the Chicago Tribune and NPR. Bradfield has been recognized in Downbeat Critics Polls as a Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist and Arranger. His latest CD is Birdhoused, recorded live in Chicago and released on the Canadian label Cellar Live in 2017.

A committed educator, Bradfield is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University and has given master classes and lectures at the Brubeck Institute, the Manhattan School of Music, the Jazz Education Network conference, and numerous other national and international venues.


2015 Rising Star Arranger, 2015 Downbeat Critics Poll 2014 DCASE grant from the city of Chicago 2012 Illinois Arts Council Grant for Music Composition 2011 New Jazz Works: Composition and Presentation Award from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Foundation 2010 Illinois Arts Council Grant for Music Composition 2010 Fellowship in Music Composition from the Black Metropolis Research Consortium and the Carnegie-Mellon Foundation. 2009 Community Arts Assistance Program Grant from the City of Chicago 2008 New Works: Composition and Presentation Award from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation


Selmer Super Balanced Action Tenor w/ Rubber Zimberoff refaced by Adam Neiwood;; Selmer MkVI soprano; Buffet Prestige Bass Clarinet


Album Review

Ethan Philion: Meditations On Mingus

Read "Meditations On Mingus" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Questa rilettura del songbook mingusiano, conferma la potenza evocativa e l'attualità di quelle composizioni. La scelta da Ethan Philion ha privilegiato brani che testimoniamo l'impegno civile e politico del contrabbassista di Nogales e sono particolarmente d'attualità oggi. Il disco di apre con un brano dal titolo emblematico, “Once Upon A Time There Was A Holding Corporation Called Old America," che Charles Mingus non registrò mai in studio ma è presente nella registrazione live (a lungo introvabile) di At ...

Album Review

Geof Bradfield Quintet: Quaver

Read "Quaver" reviewed by Jack Bowers

While tenor saxophonist Geof Bradfield's versatile Chicago-based quintet does not play “free jazz" on Quaver-- customary rhythmic and harmonic precepts underline every number--the music is explicitly adventurous and forward-looking, as Bradfield and his mates seize every chance to take flight within prescribed boundaries. All the compositions are Bradfield's, and they range from powerful to placid, none of which seems to faze any members of the group, three of whom --Bradfield, bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Dana Hall--have been ...

Album Review

Scott Burns / John Wojciechowski / Geof Bradfield: Tenor Time

Read "Tenor Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Tenor Time unveils the talents of a trio of Chicago-area tenor saxophonists, each of whom--presumably—solos on each of the album's eight numbers. The qualifier is necessary because the solo order is not given and, skillful as they are, the tenors sound much like triplets at the same workbench. That is to say that in terms of tone, technique and improvisation, they more closely resemble Tweedledee and Tweedledum than, say, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Hank Mobley. If ...

Album Review

Eric Jacobson: Discover

Read "Discover" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

With Discover, jny: Milwaukee-based trumpeter and jazz educator Eric Jacobson and team take us on an aural time trip back to the days when album covers were iconically black and white or monochrome and the contents within were drenched in blue-hued Hard Bop. This is a fine effort with that precise presentation. “New Combinations," which launches the date, is anything but new and sets the trajectory. One of four Jacobson originals, it is a straight-head burner directly ...

Album Review

Eric Jacobson: Discover

Read "Discover" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If trumpeter Eric Jacobson's name doesn't ring a bell, it could be because he is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or any other jazz mecca. What's more, Jacobson has not recorded often; Discover is only his second date as leader or co-leader. Hindrances aside, Jacobson's is a name with which one should become familiar, as he is an excellent trumpeter and composer, and Discover is splendid from start to finish. ...

Album Review

Darren Johnston: Life in Time

Read "Life in Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Brooklyn-based trumpeter Darren Johnston traveled to Chicago in May 2021 to record Life in Time with three of his favorite musicians: saxophonist Geof Bradfield, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall who form their own working trio in the Windy City. The generally charming studio date encompasses ten original compositions, six by Johnston, four by Bradfield. Technically and musically, the foursome is splendid. What is missing—and it takes a tune or two to sink in—is the welcome ...

Album Review

Geof Bradfield, Ben Goldberg, Dana Hall Trio: General Semantics

Read "General Semantics" reviewed by Troy Dostert

A fortuitous meeting between veteran clarinetist Ben Goldberg and two up-and-coming stalwarts of the Chicago creative jazz scene, saxophonist Geof Bradfield and drummer Dana Hall, General Semantics is a tribute to the power of spontaneous interaction among like-minded musicians. Although Bradfield and Hall have worked together extensively since Bradfield's quintet album Our Roots (Origin Records, 2015), neither had performed with Goldberg. But when the three met at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in 2017 and discovered their sympathetic, wide-ranging musical ...

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“Geof Bradfield has drawn plenty of praise for his work as a reed soloist, and it’s all deserved… But in the last few years, Bradfield has made just as much impact with his precise and colorful writing, in compositions that evoke a vivid sense of place through the same mixture of detail and sweep.” —Neil Tesser

“Like I said man, you’ve been chosen. You don’t know that. The African Ancestors chose you. When you truly love your ancestors, with true love, they will guide you and they will touch you no matter where you are on the planet earth. You can be in Stockholm, you can be in Mississippi, you can be in Rio de Janeiro, when the ancestral spirits touch you, you have to respond. So they got you!” – Randy Weston

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, tenor



Willing to teach

Advanced only


Currently Associate Professor of Jazz Saxophone at Northern Illinois University, Geof Bradfield has extensive experience as an educator. Since completing his MFA at California Institute of the Arts, he has held positions at several colleges and universities as well as teaching master classes in topics ranging from improvisation to the history of American music in the twentieth century to jazz composition and saxophone technique. He has toured Africa, the Middle East and Russia through Jazz at Lincoln Center's "The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad" program as a performer and clinician.

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Calligram Records


Life in Time

Origin Records



Origin Records


Tenor Time

Afar Music


Meditations On Mingus

Sunnyside Records



Outside in Music


New Combinations

From: Discover
By Geof Bradfield

Little Gold Fish

From: Life in Time
By Geof Bradfield

Imaginary Lines

From: Originations
By Geof Bradfield

Central Avenue

From: Melba!
By Geof Bradfield

Urban Nomad

From: Urban Nomad
By Geof Bradfield



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