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Geof Bradfield: Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers

Read "Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The Compass Players was a legendary theatrical ensemble in Chicago whose members developed several improvisational games to stimulate their creative instincts. One of these was called “Yes, and..." where one person would start telling a story and everyone who followed would have to continue the story however they wished from the point the previous speaker ended. Saxophonist Geof Bradfield has applied the concept of that game to this project, writing a suite for nine improvising musicians where each movement builds ...

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Geof Bradfield: Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers

Read "Yes, and...Music for Nine Improvisers" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Since the early 2000s, saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield has been an integral part of the ever-fertile Chicago jazz scene, bringing his substantial talents to music that easily bridges the divide between the traditional and the avant-garde. His records have explored a remarkable range of styles and themes: from African Flowers (Origin Records, 2010), which traced the intersections between African folk forms and American jazz, to Melba! (Origin Records, 2013), Bradfield's tribute to trombonist/arranger Melba Liston, to Our Roots (Origin ...

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Geof Bradfield: Birdhoused

Read "Birdhoused" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

A horn-fest? That was the initial impression of saxophonist Geof Bradfield's Birdhoused, a set featuring a quintet with no chording instrument and  four horn front line in a live set at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. While Bradfield's Melba (Origin Records, 2013) paid tribute to the under-sung trombonist/composer/arranger Melba Liston; and his Roots (Origin Records, 2015) explored the sounds of Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson and the Georgia Sea Island Singers, Birdhoused expands the horizons, delving into the disparate sounds of ...

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Geof Bradfield Quintet: Our Roots

Read "Our Roots" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

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 ...

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Geof Bradfield: Our Roots

Read "Our Roots" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Without the blues, there would be no jazz, and arguably, no rock-and-roll. Think about it, if there were no rock-and-roll, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who stole every American blues lick they could find in the 1960s, would have had to get real jobs. Jazz musicians suffer no illusions that their music wasn't born of the African-American blues tradition and its music is unequaled when it deals overtly with this tradition. Saxophonist Geof Bradfield is a skilled composer ...

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Geof Bradfield Quintet: Our Roots

Read "Our Roots" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Discussing “roots" in the context of jazz, a good starting point is the Mississippi delta, down in New Orleans, where the music of trumpeters King Oliver and Louis Armstrong grew strong. And then there's the rich earth of the delta in north western Mississippi, up near Clarksdale, where the blues grew and blossomed. The roots from both these areas were, of course, transplanted from Africa. Chicago-based saxophonist Geof Bradfield follows up his marvelous Melba! (Origin Records, 2013) with ...

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Geof Bradfield: Melba!

Read "Melba!" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Chicago based saxophonist Geof Bradfield's Melba! is a much needed tribute to the criminally underexposed trombonist and arranger Melba Liston. Liston debuted with trumpeter, bandleader Gerald Wilson, was one of the stars of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's bebop big band and devoted herself to arranging after she met pianist Randy Weston with whom she had a long and fruitful career.Commissioned by Chamber Music America's 2011 New Jazz Works program and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation this ambitious ...

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Geof Bradfield: Melba!

Read "Melba!" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Melba Liston (1926-1999) isn't one of the big names that comes up when great jazz composer/arrangers are mentioned, but it should be. Starting as a trombonist with some of the greats--Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Count Basie, Art Blakey--she soon began working with Randy Weston, arranging the pianist's composition on Uhuru Africa, (Roulette Records, 1960) and Highlife (Roulette Records, 1961). She also wrote the charts for saxophonist Johnny Griffin, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Charles Mingus. Fast forward ...

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Geof Bradfield: African Flowers

Read "African Flowers" reviewed by Mark Corroto

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'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, trumpeter Victor Garcia, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer George Fludas.African Flowers follows the quartet release Urban Nomad (Origin, ...

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Geof Bradfield: Urban Nomad

Read "Urban Nomad" reviewed by John Barron

On Urban Nomad, Chicago saxophonist Geof Bradfield and his powerhouse quartet perform with tremendous spirit, maintaining a momentum that is vibrant and infectious. Bradfield's inventive, yet tightly-focused tenor and soprano playing is propelled by pianist Ron Perrillo, drummer George Fludas and bassist Clark Sommers, soaring through a mostly original set of charged-up progressive jazz.

Bradfield's compositions are full of shifting time signatures and lush harmonies. Most compelling, however, is the way the Columbia College instructor intertwines rhythmic and melodic motifs ...

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Geof Bradfield: Rule Of Three

Read "Rule Of Three" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Just in time for summer comes the first “feel good" record of the year. We don’t mean feel good as in soft cheese; we are talking solid accessible post bop trio music here.Ted Sirota, the drummer and leader of the Rebel Souls, has pared down his lineup from the sprawling sextet to this spartan trio. The Chicago-based drummer began in Boston, playing with rising-star guitarist Jeff Parker and soon adding the Chicago Underground musicians Rob Mazurek and Noel ...