Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cindy Bradley - "Just a Little Bit"

In this case a little bit turns out to be a whole lot!!
Her bio says she was born in Buffalo, New York and started in with her music at a very early age. She sure did because by the age of 12 she was already touring with a jazz group of young musicians. In later years, she broadened her scope to take in latin, funk, rock and R&B. She achieved a Masters Degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston and a Bachelors degree in jazz studies from Ithica College. She has worked with some of the best jazz players in the area and toured with Pieces Of A Dream. Very impressive background.

While doing some research, I read a short review about her in which the reviewer stated they were huge jazz fans but had never heard a female trumpter. Well in this male dominated field it's actually not as rare as one would think. Starting from pre-1920's jazz on through the years, there have been many female trumpeters. Although most never reach notoriety one such player (around 1940) made the boys take notice. That was Clora Bryant who used to sit in at the jazz jam sessions in the Downbeat Club in Los Angeles. Believe it or not, LA was a haven for jazz musicians from the 20's through the 50's.

In this day and age, though, there are no famous female jazz trumpet players to speak of and just when we were kicked back and very comfortable in the zone, along comes Cindy Bradley. This young lady is really in somewhat the same postition that jazz sax players Candi Dulfer and Mindi Abair found themselves in some time back. She has the opportunity and the ability to create a path for future female horn players while solidifying a spot for herself.

The proof lies in the product though and how does that stack up for Cindy Bradley? Well she’s one of the best young players I have heard in some time. Her new cd, Just A Little Bit, is composed of eight tracks and of the eight tracks, 5 are written by Cindy, 2 are written by trumpeter/composer John McNeil and 1 is a cover of Grover Washington Jr.'s hit , Mr. Magic.

The set opens with Pay Day, a nice little groove that blends the trumpet with Dave Lawrence's fine guitar work. Midway into the tune they break apart for a brief exchange between keyboard, trumpet and guitar…..then back together and out the other end. Nice track. Dave Lawrence, along with Cindy, arranged most of the tracks on the cd and it’s definately demonstrated by the tightness between them.

Afternoon Awakening is the next offering and is a much softer track with Cindy on muted trumpet. It may be a softer track but she gets her point across while at the same time allowing you to remain in that lull of the moment. Once again Dave backs her up with some very fine yet unobtrusive guitar work.

Track 3, For Him, is the only track not list as being arranged by Lawrence. It too is a softer track featuring Cindy on flugelhorn and basically is the first track I've heard that doesn't have any push from Lawrence or the other musicians. This track features Cindy all the way and shows her ability to carry the show.

The title track, Just a Little Bit, picks the tempo back up and adds some vocal backing by Letrice Cherry. Nice catchy track with a mixture of guitar, trumpet and vocals. Cindy stretches out a bit on this one with a solo in the latter part of the track and then puts a fine finish to the tune.

We're back to muted trumpet on You Know What's Next and of course it’s a much softer track again. Don't let that fool you though. Cindy manages to leave her mark on this track with solid solo work and a wrapup somewhat in the familiar style of Chris Botti.

The next two tracks, Manhattan Rain and Out Of Service, are penned by John McNeil, and have a bit of a different flavor than the prior tracks written by Cindy. They tend to be more jazz oriented which makes her reach out more than on the first part of the cd. If you are a fan of jazz trumpet, these two tracks are probably the best on the album.

The closing track is Grover Washington Jr.'s Mr. Magic and Cindy has taken this tune to the trumpet in great fashion. At first blush the playing seems very light in it's interpretation of the tune, however, as it unfolds we find Cindy doing some very dynamic solo work.

To sum up this album........ the overall cd is a listening experience you'll enjoy. I'd say the arrangements were a little too guarded and structured, although, in every instance where Cindy was asked to step up to the plate, she delivered. I'd definately like to hear her perform untethered to the level of her capabilties. Maybe on the next cd. If so, it ought to be dynamite.

You can enjoy this cd and support the artist. Go to CdBaby and Buy the CD!

Credit: citysoundsradio

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