Will Bradley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Will Bradley
Will Bradley in a 1942 advertisement
Will Bradley in a 1942 advertisement
Background information
Birth nameWilbur Schwichtenberg
Born(1912-07-12)July 12, 1912
Newton, New Jersey, U.S.
Died(1989-07-15)July 15, 1989 (aged 77)
Flemington, New Jersey
GenresBig band, boogie-woogie

Wilbur Schwichtenberg (July 12, 1912 – July 15, 1989),[1] known professionally as Will Bradley, was an American trombonist and bandleader during the 1930s and 1940s. He performed swing, dance music, and boogie-woogie songs, many of them written by Don Raye.


Born in Newton, New Jersey, Bradley was raised in Washington, New Jersey.[2] In 1928, he moved to New York City and became a member of bands such as Red Nichols & His Five Pennies.[3] During the 1930s, he was a studio musician for CBS except for one year with the Ray Noble orchestra.[4]

In 1939, he started a big band with Ray McKinley,[2] a swing drummer and vocalist from Texas, and changed his name from Schwichtenberg to Will Bradley. The band included Freddie Slack, Arthur Rollini, Peanuts Hucko, Lee Castle, and Pete Candoli. Vocalists included Terry Allen, Carlotta Dale, Lynn Gardner, Steve Jordan, Ray McKinley, Phyllis Myles, Larry Southern, and Jimmy Valentine.[4]

The Bradley band became well known for boogie-woogie, particularly its hit record, "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar".[5] The song reached the top ten of Billboard magazine's popular music chart, as did "Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat" and "Down the Road a Piece". The latter song was recorded by the Will Bradley Trio, consisting of McKinley, Slack, and Doc Goldberg, with guest vocals by songwriter Don Raye.

In 1942, McKinley departed to form his own band.[3] Bradley hired trumpeter Shorty Rogers and drummer Shelly Manne, but many members wound up in the military due to the draft, and the band dissolved.[3] For the rest of his music career, Bradley composed chamber music and orchestral works.[4]


He died on July 15, 1989, in Flemington, New Jersey, three days after his 77th birthday.[4]


Bradley was the band leader for the Summer Silver Theater on CBS in 1941, with Ed Sullivan as the show's host.[6]


  • Boogie-Woogie (Epic, 1954)
  • Jazz Encounter (Waldorf Music Hall, 1955)
  • Jazz – Dixieland and Chicago Style (Waldorf Music Hall, 1955)
  • 1941 (Circle, 1986)[7]

With Ruth Brown

With Charlie Parker


  1. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 26.
  2. ^ a b Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press, US. p. 78. ISBN 9780195320008. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  4. ^ a b c d arwulf, arwulf. "Will Bradley". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Will Bradley, 78, Dies; Wrote Boogie-Woogie". The New York Times. 19 July 1989. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Sunday". Radio and Television Mirror. 16 (5): 41. September 1941. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Will Bradley And His Orchestra". Discogs.com. Retrieved 26 June 2017.