Bradford grew up in a musical family; her grandfather is Melvin Moore, her father Bobby Bradford, and her mother Melba Joyce. She studied music formally at Huston-Tillotson College, and sang as a popular singer and for television commercials before scoring a slot opening for the Count Basie Orchestra in 1982. In 1983 Basie asked her to sing with the band, and she remained a singer with the group after Basie's death, under the direction of Thad Jones and Frank Foster. In 1991 she left the group and worked under her own name, releasing several albums; she has also worked with David Murray and Kamau Daaood.
- Finally Yours (Amazing Records, 1992)
- With Respect (Evidence Records, 1995)
- Home With You (Azica Records, 2004)
- All About That Basie (Concord Jazz, 2018)
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