Bobby Bradford, Moers Festival 2008
|Birth name||Bobby Lee Bradford|
July 19, 1934 |
Cleveland, Mississippi, US
|Origin||Dallas, Texas, US|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, professor|
|Associated acts||Mo'tet, Ornette Coleman Quartet, New Art Jazz Ensemble|
Bobby Lee Bradford (born July 19, 1934, in Cleveland, Mississippi) is an American jazz trumpeter, cornetist, bandleader, and composer. He is noted for his work with Ornette Coleman. In October 2009 Bradford became the second recipient of the Festival of New Trumpet Music's Award of Recognition.
Bobby Lee Bradford's life begins in Mississippi, he and his family then moved to Dallas, Texas, in 1946. He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1953 where he reunited with Ornette Coleman, whom he had previously known in Texas. Bradford subsequently joined Coleman's ensemble but was replaced not long after by Don Cherry when he drafted into the U.S. Air Force.
After playing in military bands from late 1954 to late 1958, he rejoined Coleman's quartet from 1961 to 1963, which infrequently performed in public, but was indeed recorded under Coleman's Atlantic contract. Quite unfortunately, these tapes were among those many destroyed in the Great Atlantic Vault Fire. Freddie Hubbard acted as Bradford's replacement upon his departure to return to the West Coast and pursue further studies. Bradford soon began a long-running and relatively well-documented association with the clarinetist John Carter, a pairing that brought both increased exposure at international festivals (though the records remain scantily available, when one excludes web rips and bootlegs). Following Carter's death in 1991, Bradford fronted his own ensemble known as The Mo'tet, with which he has continued to perform since. He is the father of drummer Dennis Bradford. He is also the father of jazz vocalist Carmen Bradford.
In addition to Coleman, Bradford has performed with Eric Dolphy, Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten, Bob Stewart, Charlie Haden, George Lewis (trmbn.), James Newton, Frode Gjerstad, Vinny Golia, Paal Nilssen-Love, and David Murray, who was previously a student of his in the 1970s.
He is an instructor at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California, and Pomona College in Claremont, California,  where he teaches The History of Jazz, known to be one of the most popular classes available.
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- Love's Dream (Emanem, 1975))
- Vols. 1 & 2 (Nessa Records, with John Stevens)
- & the Mo'tet - Lost in L.A. (Black Saint, 1984))
- One Night Stand (Soul Note Recordsm 1997; with the Frank Sullivan Trio)
- Purple Gums (Asian Improv, 2003; with Francis Wong, William Roper)
- Midnight Pacific Airwaves (Entropy Stereo, 2009)
- Live in L.A. (Clean Feed, 2011) - with Mark Dresser & Glenn Ferris
- Silver Cornet (Nessa, 2014) - with Frode Gjerstad
As joint leader
- Flight for Four (Flying Dutchman, 1969; as John Carter / Bobby Bradford)
- Self Determination Music (Flying Dutchman, 1970; as John Carter / Bobby Bradford)
- Secrets (Revelation Records, 1973; as John Carter / Bobby Bradford)
- No U-Turn - Live in Pasadena, 1975 (Dark Tree, 2015; as Bobby Bradford / John Carter Quintet)
- Comin' On (hat ART, 1989; as Bobby Bradford / John Carter Quintet)
- Tandem 1 & 2 (Emanem, 1996; as John Carter & Bobby Bradford
- Reknes (Circulasione Totale, 2009; as Bradford Gjerstad Håker Flaten Nilssen-Love)
- Varistar (Full Bleed Music, 2009; as Bobby Bradford, Tom Heasley, Ken Rosser)
- Kampen (NoBusiness Records, 2012), as Bobby Bradford, Frode Gjerstad, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love)
- Dragon (PNL, 2012; as Bradford, Gjerstad, Nilssen-Love)
- Detail Plus (Impetus Records, 1986)
- Way It Goes/Dance Of The Soul (Impetus Recordsm 1988; as Detail Plus)
- In Time Was (Circulasione Totale, 1990)
With John Carter
With Nels Cline
- New Monastery (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
With Ornette Coleman
With David Murray
- Murray's Steps (Black Saint, 1983)
- Death of a Sideman (DIW, 1991)
- MX (Red Baron, 1992)
- Be My Monster Love (Motéma, 2013)
With William Parker
- Wood Flute Songs (AUM Fidelity, 2013)
- Live Tracks (Impetus Records, 1988)
- Ikosa Mura (Cadence Jazz Records, 1998)
- Open Port (Circulasione Totale, 2008)
- Isoardi, Steven L. (2006). The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles. The George Gund Foundation Book in African American Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24591-1
- Litweiler, John (1990). The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80377-1
- Dailey, Raleigh. Folklore, Composition, and Free Jazz: The Life and Music of John Carter. Ph.D. dissertation; University of Kentucky, 2007.
- "FONT :: Festival of the New Trumpet :: Full History." fontmusic.org.
- Fred Jung, "A Fireside Chat With Bobby Bradford", Jazz Weekly.
- Clifford Allen, "Bobby Bradford: Self-Determination in the Great Basin", All About Jazz.
- "Beauty is a Rare Thing," Ornette Coleman Atlantic Collection, liner notes by Robert Palmer et al.; Michelle Mercer, "Jazz West", PCM, Winter 2002, Vol. 39, No. 2.
- Fred Jung, "A Fireside Chat With Bobby Bradford", Jazz Weekly
- Article by Michelle Mercer from Pomona College Magazine Online
- "Bobby Bradford @ 75", Point of Departure: An Online Music Journal
- Bobby Bradford bio from ARTISTdirect site
- Education bio, Pasadena City College
- Images of Bobby Bradford from the Finding Aid for the Mark Weber Jazz Collection 1970 - 2005 in the Online Archive of California. Keyword search on "Bobby Bradford."