Jeff Bradshaw hails from North Philadelphia, where the church brass bands are a main attraction. The prodigal musician got an early start under the tutelage of his late father (also a musician) with the snare drum and sousaphone, but it is his personifying instrumentation of the trombone that has separated him as one of the industry’s brightest horn players.
As a longtime Hidden Beach recording artist, Bradshaw has made history with his sophomore album “Bone Appétit” when it debuted on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart three times last spring. Released in April, in its first week “Bone Appétit — Vol. 1 Main Course” landed at No. 5 with “Bone Appétit — Double Issue” following at #6 and “Bone Appétit — Vol. 2 Deuxiemecours” entering at No. 24. The album was also positioned at No. 1 on the SoulTracks.com/Amazon Top 10 Albums chart, a ranking of the top major and independent label Soul releases.
A trombone master, Bradshaw delivers a collection of music rooted in Jazz with a host of neo-soul and R&B artists as guests including Marsha Ambrosius, Raheem DeVaughn, Kindred the Family Soul, Maysa (Incognito), Coko (SWV), PJ Morton (Cash Money/Maroon 5) and introducing Brass Heaven. This album comes nearly a decade after his acclaimed first CD, “Bone Deep.”
“I’ve experienced a lot of love and heartache,” Bradshaw reflected. “I’ve matured. I’ve loved and lost. Married and divorced. A lot of things have happened in the nine years since my first release. I’ve matured musically. I’ve matured as a man. I’ve matured as a father. I’ve matured as a Christian man. I’ve matured as a person. All of these things and all of these experiences and artists formed this record that I have been recording for the last six years. These are the people that joined on this instrument of soul and this inspiring music — not just smooth jazz or soul jazz — I just wanted to expound on good music, and my life journey through good music.”
Bradshaw’s love for the trombone, or “bone,” is a part of his pedigree as the son of a beloved horn man. His father, Norman “Brad” Bradshaw, passed away last October. “He was the life of the party. When he walked in the room everybody screamed his name,” recalled Bradshaw. Nowadays, his four-year-old son Madison toots his own horn with a little Jean Baptiste slide trumpet that serves as mini trombone.
“My father was proud of me,” said Bradshaw. “My father was a trombone player. He was the coolest guy that I have ever known. He was the greatest man that I’ve even known. He taught me how to be a man, and how to be a father and how to play trombone. I owe him a debt of honor and gratitude for teaching me to be the man that I am — and the musician that I am. And, I will continue to carry on that legacy and will pass that down to my son.”
Bradshaw collaborated with many friends from his hometown of Philadelphia, and also with other artists recording for the Hidden Beach record label. Bradshaw has recorded with Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Floetry, Darius Rucker, Musiq, The Roots, Earth Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson, to mention only a few. According to Billboard, “In the nearly 20-year history of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz albums chart, Bradshaw is only the third act — and first since 2007 — to chart three albums simultaneously. He follows Kenny G and John Tesh, who did it on various occasions. ‘Bone Appetit Vol. 1 (Main Course)’ also immediately becomes his highest charting album yet, surpassing the No. 18 peak of 2003’s ‘Bone Deep.’”
The soulful artist reveals that he is not waiting years to release his next collection. “I’ve already started on the new album that’s set to come out next summer,” said Bradshaw. “And let me give you a taste of what it’s about. Let’s just say it’s called, ‘Harlem.’ I’ve always been a fan of the Harlem Renaissance and the music of that time, and I am expounding on something that I have never done before, and I’m going to record an album of the music of the era.”
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts hosts “Sittin’ In Jam Sessions,” a monthly installment of free Wednesday night programming part of the Free at the Kimmel, featuring Jeff Bradshaw leading a night of classic jam sessions on the Commonwealth Plaza stage from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Visit www.kimmelcenter.org/free for updated artist information.