ABOUT JEFF BRADSHAW:
“I started in church. My father was a musician and a preacher in the church. My first taste of what music was started in the church where I was born and raised. That’s where I learned that music would be my first love,” Jeff Bradshaw says. The United House of Prayer for All people is where Jeff developed his craft and first learned that he
wanted to be the unconventional artist with a vast musical repertoire that is your favorite artist’s go-to whenever they need a trombone player, producer, or writer.
“I’m not the traditional jazz or solo jazz artist. My father taught me how to play the trombone. There is no music school, college, or institution that can take credit for anything that I’ve accomplished with this instrument,” he says.
His first experience in mainstream music came in 1994. Bradshaw began to meet musicians, singers, and producers on the Philly scene that went on to become the architect of the neo-soul revolution: Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter of the Roots, James Poyser, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and many others.
A few years later, Bradshaw was invited by his dear friend, Jill Scott, to take part in the recording of her first album and to tour with her after its breakthrough release. This connection led opportunity to meet with Hidden Beach Recordings CEO Steve McKeever, who afforded Jeff the opportunity to record his first album as a solo artist in 2003,
“Jill was with Hidden Beach Records at the time and told Steve McKeever about me and to check out the music I was working on. I didn’t want to seem too anxious, so a week later I sent him 3 or 4 songs. He really liked them and asked for more, so I sent him two more songs, the last of which was a song he asked me about that was an instrumental and I had told him that Jill was going to sing on that song. After a month or so, he hit me back, and I met him at Jill’s video shoot in Long Island, New York. He wanted to tell me in person that he thinks I have something groundbreaking and that he’s not afraid to sign a trombone player. He shook my hand and told me
welcome to Hidden Beach,” he says.
Since the release of Jeff Bradshaw’s debut album, he has had 20 years of valuable experiences that have shaped him into the veteran multi-instrumentalist, producer, and writer that listeners know and love today. Jeff’s raw talent and ability to connect with other artists have led him to work with the likes of Michael Jackson, Jay Z, Mary J
Blige, Erykah Badu, Kirk Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, Musiq Soulchild, and more.
These opportunities Jeff has had have been the reward of 20+ plus years of hard work. His devotion to his craft and constant ready-to-go attitude has worked out for him over the years.
“I was prepared and ready for those opportunities. Preparation is key in this business. The longer I’ve been in this business the more I’ve still seen that is what it is. You know, when we need to call in somebody because our main guy’s wife is sick or something like that and we got three shows out on the road this week and we need them to come in with no rehearsal and play the show. We’re going to send this player the chart and a couple of MP3s and he’s got to read this shit down. Be always ready to go.”
This mindset coupled with his desire to think outside of the box and try new things led to his highly successful album, “Home.”
As a boy in Philadelphia, Bradshaw performed with brass bands on Broad Street, just a stone’s throw from the spot where Philadelphia’s most prestigious performing arts center, The Kimmel Center, stands today. Fast forward to 2014 and Jeff asked himself: “Why not bring the crème-de-la-crème of singers and players to The Kimmel for a
genre-crossing one-night-only musical event that would replicate the excitement of the classic R&B revues for this generation of fans?”
“It was a dream come true. That album was something that movies are made of. Robert Glasper was my co-executive producer and we sat down at BBQs for hours. I told him all the artists I wanted and what songs they should sing. Robert helped me put the whole thing together. He knew what I wanted and the way I wanted to do it.
He was a great help in formulating my vision,” he says.
As Jeff gears up for the release of his next album, affectionately titled “Jeff Bradshaw: 20”, he is confident listeners will still experience his music with the same unique sense of wonder as when they first heard him. “20 years man. It means to me, blessed, relevant, excited, young, and hungry. All those things I still am. excited about the music and excited for people to hear it. I’m still going to create these beautiful songs and the trombone is going to play a different role in every song,” he says.
Each song from his album has a unique story behind it, listeners will feel the movie soundtrack of Jeff Bradshaw’s life from his early days playing in church to the 20 years of releasing music, his present-day life touring with artists such as Patti Labelle, and everything in between.
The first single, “Carrie’s Bread Puddin” is what Bradshaw calls a “southern church, hip-hop D’Angelo swag” style song honoring his mother’s life and her famous bread pudding. “The song is about celebrating the love and life of my mother, Carrie Bradshaw, my hero. The most amazing person I know walking the earth and her famous bread pudding, when you taste it you’ll never be the same,” he says.
But that’s not the only interesting story, another song from “Jeff Bradshaw: 20”, titled “Dubai Voices” has been serving as the opening number on the legendary radio show, “The Quiet Storm” in Philadelphia for over a year and a half.
“Philadelphians have heard that song on the radio. Now people will be able to download it, own it, and be able to have it for themselves which is awesome,” he says.
As he looks back proudly on his legacy and the journey ahead, Bradshaw’s career has set the foundation for trombone players to do their own thing just like him. “When I’m gone, I know there will be a whole group of young trombone players that believe that they don’t have to be section horn players. Trombone players can be solo artists.
They can be mainstream soul, jazz, and hip-hop artists like Jeff Bradshaw.”
– Jeff Bradshaw