"It's a lively, lovely suite, bristling with Joel Adams' trombone fanfares (as you'd expect from a piece dedicated to a trombonist); slyly incorporating Africanized rhythms and echoes of African melody (in a nod to the continent's strong influence on the best-known Weston-Liston collaborations); and glistening in the funky sophistication that marked orchestral writing in jazz of the 50s and 60s (Liston's heyday)." -Neil Tesser
"The long lines, complex themes and meticulous structuring of this score point to the high craft of Bradfield's writing..."- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune.
"Couched in the diverse styles and genres Liston both absorbed and shaped over the course of her career, the musical storyline of Bradfield's suite Melba! winds its way through many aspects of the trombonist's life: her gospel-infused Kansas City childhood; her immersion in the thriving Central Avenue scene of '40s-era Los Angeles; her breakout work with Dizzy Gillespie a few years later; her extended collaboration with Weston (which began in the late '50s and lasted until her death in 1999); her '70s-era stints as a pop arranger at Motown and Stax Records and an educator and writer/arranger in Jamaica (she worked with Bob Marley, among others); and her public triumph at the 1979 Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival as leader of the all-women septet Melba Liston and Company." (Downbeat)
On African Flowers:
"Bradfield's experiences [in Africa]play out vividly on the new disc in a continuous suite; the thematic arc is identical to his itinerary, which found the group playing a string of cities across Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The titles tell the route: "Butare," "Lubumbashi" "Kampala" and "Harare," divided by solo interludes in addition to melodic anecdotes, like the hard-swinging postbop bustle "Nairobi Transit" and tender ballad "Mama Yemo," A sleek swing undercurrent keeps African Flowers filed in the jazz bin, but the syncopated countermelodies coursing through Bradfield's compositions play like a musical travelogue. " (Downbeat)
“Bradfield turned in poetic work on his CD of last year, "African Flowers" (Origin Records). The luster of his tone on saxophone is matched by the depth of his work as composer.”(Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune)
"...together the band delivers entrancing polyrhythmic themes like the melodic Rwandan praise song "Butare" and the danceable Congolese rumba "Lubumbashi," the latter a catchy clave vehicle for the leader's bold tenor sax work. (Jazztimes)
"Bradfield traveled to Africa and like many jazz musicians who have journeyed overseas to hear other forms of music, absorbed what he heard and blended influences from them with his own original ideas...Africa seen through the prism of Geof Bradfield's music proves to be a delightful experience. (AllMusicGuide)
"We’ve come to expect top-drawer saxophone solos from Bradfield... His solos unwind with a wealth of imaginative detail but without any sense of alacrity; at his most impassioned, he remains unruffled and unflappable, drawing occasional comparisons to a young Sonny Rollins or to the contemporary Chris Potter. But Bradfield’s writing is a revelation. Not only does it have much the same power and precision of his soloing; it also shows a highly refined use of the limited instrumentation, which allows him to create orchestral textures from just his sextet."
(Neil Tesser, The Examiner)
"He gracefully and precisely leads a superb sextet—with Fludas, Cohan, Sommers, guitarist Jeff Parker, and trumpeter Victor Garcia—through pieces characterized by lush, elegant melody lines and streaked with contrapuntal figures and pretty harmonies. Bradfield hasn’t undertaken an ethnographic experiment here—like the Ellington work I mentioned above, what he saw and heard functioned as an inspiration for ideas in his own idiom." (Chicago Reader)
"Bradfield's excellent jazz adventure into Africa ultimately leads right back home. Funny, how small this world actually is. This is one beautiful record." (Allaboutjazz)
Geof Bradfield was born in Houston, TX, where he attended the renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He lived and worked for periods in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington before settling in Chicago in 2004. Along the way, he has been fortunate to work alongside many jazz luminaries and to perform throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. He is featured on numerous recordings, including his critically acclaimed 2010 release African Flowers, which was named one of the top 10 CDs of 2010 by the Los Angeles Times. His septet performed this 10-part suite in 2011 at Chicago's Millennium Park to an audience of 8,000 as part of the celebrated series Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz. Mr. Bradfield and his ensemble also presented the suite at the DuSable Museum of African American Art as the Artist-in Residence of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in the fall of 2011.
As a composer, Mr. Bradfield has received several commissions and awards, including a 2008 New Jazz Works commission from Chamber Music America and grants and fellowships from the City of Chicago Community Arts Partnership, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. His recent suite Melba!, inspired by the life and music of trombonist and arranger Melba Liston, premiered in 2012 through the support of a 2011 New Jazz Works commission from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In the fall of 2012, Mr. Bradfield's septet toured Melba! in the Midwest and South, returning to Chicago to close the tour at the legendary Green Mill jazz club. The group recorded the suite for release on Origin Records in 2013.
Mr. Bradfield also has extensive experience as an educator. Since completing his MFA at California Institute of the Arts, he has held positions at diverse colleges and universities as well as teaching master classes in composition, history and performance in the U.S. and abroad. He is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University.
As a leader or co-leader:
Melba! (Origin 2013)
Ba(SH) Live (Piece of Coal 2011)
African Flowers (Origin 2010)
Urban Nomad (Origin, 2008)
Rule of Three (Liberated Zone, 2003)
As a sideman:
Tito Carrillo, Opening Statement (Origin 2012)
John Moulder, Live at the Green Mill (OA2 2012)
Marlene Rosenberg, Bassprint (Origin 2012)
Ramsey Lewis, Proclamation of Hope live at the Kennedy Center (DVD-2010)
Ryan Cohan, Another Look (Motema 2010)
Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls, Seize the Time (Naim 2009)
Kobie Watkins, Involved(Origin 2009)
Chad McCullough, Dark Wood Dark Water (Origin 2009)
Tony DoRosario's New Chicago Quartet, New Beginnings (Chicago Sessions 2009)
Aaron Koppel Quartet, Falling Together, Falling Apart (Chicago Sessions 2009)
Ryan Cohan, One Sky (Motema, 2007)
Ryan Cohan, Here and Now (Sirocco 2001)
Kelly Brand, The Door (Origin 2008)
John Moulder, Trinity (OA2, 2006)
Michael Allemana Quartet, Inner Rhythm (2006)
Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls, Breeding Resistance (Delmark 2004)
Rebel Souls, Vs. the forces of evil (Naim 2001)