Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Geof Bradfield Quintet: Our Roots


Geof Bradfield Quintet: Our Roots


Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground"

Geof Bradfield Quintet: Our Roots
Tenor saxophonist Geof Bradfield's inspiration for Our Roots came from Clifford Jordan's Huddie "LeadBelly" tribute, These are my Roots: Clifford Jordan plays Leadbelly (Atlantic, 1965). While there is a bit of overlap in material from both recordings, Bradfield adopts a very different format for his presentation. Jordan employed a standard jazz rhythm section, while Bradfield eschews a harmony instrument in preference to a three-horn front. It is no mistake that this recording recalls alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's seminal Atlantic recordings of his famous pianoless quartet. As evidenced in Coleman's "Lonely Woman" his vision was steeped in the Texas blues of his youth. It is exactly this spirit Bradfield channels on the present Our roots.

However, Bradfield wanders beyond Jordan, including two Blind Willie Johnson compositions, including his most famous one, "Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground." Ethereal rising off of a 90-year old shellac 78 RPM, this Johnson composition was sent out on the Voyager Golden Record, sharing company with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (first movement), Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (first movement), and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." Branfield takes this piece in an entirely different direction. After a brief horn exposition, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall perform an intensely moody duet before Bradfield enters with Johnson's theme. The performance among the horns is one of call-and-response, recalling in modern terms something ancient and fecund.

Track Listing

Adam in the Garden; Clinton Hill; Yellow Gal; Black Girl; Meshell; Before This time another Year; Lead Belly; Dick's Holler; Mbira Song; Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground; Motherless Children; Take This Hammer


Geof Bradfield
saxophone, tenor

Geof Bradfield: tenor saxophone; Marquis Hill: trumpet; Joel Adams: trombone; Clark Sommers: bass; Dana Hall: drums.

Album information

Title: Our Roots | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Origin Records



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


8 Concepts of Tango
Hakon Skogstad
How Long Is Now
Christian Marien Quartett
Heartland Radio
Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.