Reviews that mention Bobby Bradford

September 1, 2020

Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad/Kent Carte/John Stevens

Blue Cat
NoBusiness Records NBLP 130

Franz Koglmann


Black Monk BMCD-01

Franz Koglmann


Black Monk BMCD-02

Establishing absolute European improvised music free of American influences was as much of a mug’s game in the late 20th Century as Donald Trump’s xenophobic directives have been during the past four years. Those like Derek Bailey who maintained that stance – while still playing with any non-Europeans who came along – ended up looking foolish. Far more prescient were players like the one here who created a sound mosaic that didn’t bother with geographical origins. MORE

August 6, 2018

Vinny Golia Wind Quartet

Live at the Century City Playhouse
DarkTree DT (RS) 08

Vinny Golia Sextet


Orenda Records/Nine Winds Records NWCD 00343/ORENEDA 0050

Cynosure of the new, Los Angeles’ reputation for adopting the most current trends in everything from diet to architecture to music of all stripes means that the lifestyle of the area is in a constant churn. That’s why multi-reedist Vinny Golia is such a singular figure there. As musical fashions and players come-and-go, he’s remained emblematic of the creative music scene in the city since he moved there about 40 years ago. On his own he’s collaborated with many of the most advanced players in the area and fronted groups ranging from duos to big bands. These releases pinpoint his continued musical consistency and his ability to adapt many styles to fit the creative impulse. MORE

August 6, 2016

Artist Feature

Frode Gjerstad
By Ken Waxman

After more than three decades on the cutting edge of free music, Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, 68, is more modest than he should be. “I realized very early that I couldn’t make a living playing the music I was interested in,” relates the Stavanger-based musician. “So I got an education and became a teacher while still playing.” Merely describing himself as a teacher downplays that Gjerstad taught economics, social science and sound design at university and college. Plus, before Gjerstad made the transition to full-time playing about 10 years ago, he worked steadily with some of the music’s heaviest hitters including drummer John Stevens, pianist Borah Bergman and cornetist Bobby Bradford. “I’m happy that I didn’t become a full time musician at an early age. With kids and a wife I stayed at home and could concentrate on the music I like. I’m not a big spender plus my wife has always been very helpful. She owns a kindergarten and I help her with that. She has been my biggest supporter all these years.” MORE

April 7, 2016

Bobby Bradford-Frode Gjerstad Quartet

The Delaware River
NoBusiness NBLP 87

By Ken Waxman

There may be 5,251 miles separating Los Angeles and Stavanger, but L.A.-based cornetist Bobby Bradford, 81, and Norwegian saxophonist/clarinetist Frode Gjerstad, 67, are so attuned in their playing that it sounds like they’re next door neighbors with daily practice sessions. On this, their fourth quartet disc, the collaborative inspiration is as high as usual. Each time they play the brass specialist and the reedist cement a relationship that goes back to the ‘70s and ‘80s when each played separately, then together with the late British drummer John Stevens. Like a TV series invigorated by gradually adding new characters though this The Delaware River is more than a two character playlet. MORE

January 1, 2016

NPR’s 10th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot

Ken Waxman (The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)


  1. Roscoe Mitchell, Celebrating Fred Anderson (Nessa)
  2. Daniel Carter-William Parker-Federico Ughi, Navajo Sunrise (Rudi)
  3. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Rafal Mazur, Unknowable (Not Two)
  4. Anna Webber, Refraction (Pirouet)
  5. Tim Berne, You've Been Watching Me (ECM)
  6. Evan Parker, Seven (Victo)
  7. Samuel Blaser, Spring Rain (Whirlwind)
  8. Akira Sakata-Giovanni Di Domenico-John Edwards-Steve Noble, Live at Cafe Oto (Clamshell)
  9. James Falzone & the Renga Ensemble, The Room Is (Allos Documents)
  10. George Freeman & Chico Freeman, All in the Family (Southport)

September 6, 2015

Bobby Bradford & John Carter Quintet

No U Turn
Dark Tree DT (RS) 05

By Ken Waxman

Two of his earliest associates demonstrate how thoroughly Ornette Coleman’s concepts of freedom had penetrated the music’s lingua franca, in this 1975 never-before-released concert from Pasadena. Profoundly analytical, yet with an animated pulse, cornetist Bobby Bradford – an on-off member of Coleman’s quartet for years – and influential clarinetist and soprano saxophonist John Carter, divide the compositional chores during nuanced performances that are craggy and irregular as a mountain path, but always explicit in direction. Pointedly using two basses – Roberto Miranda and Stanley Carter –at times playing arco, the results suggest the calmness of a chamber intermezzo, though drummer William Jeffrey’s dislocated rhythmic accents keeps the sounds edgy as well as swinging. MORE

November 1, 2014

John Carter & Bobby Bradford

Tandem (1 & 2) Remastered
Emanem 5204

Firmly part of the 21st Century ethos of anything-goes improvisations in 2014, it’s almost impossible to imagine the bravery that defined the duo work of clarinetist John Carter (1928-1991) and cornetist Bobby Bradford when these 16 tracks were recorded in 1979 and 1982. While the idea of solo improvising had been around for a while, having a regularly gigging ensemble of just two horns was audacious to say the least. Progenitors of many groups since that time, a close listen to Tandem shows how carefully Carter and Bradford were evolving their interactions and with 30 years plus of hindsight how profoundly Jazz-like a good portion of their program now appears. MORE

June 20, 2011

Rich Halley Quartet

Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival
Pine Eagle 001


Kege Snö

Umlaut Records umcd0010

Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic inspiration is now so much a part of the Jazz discourse that its influence keeps popping up in unexpected places – at least as far as the music’s mainstream is concerned.

Consider these two fundamental quartet sessions of original compositions since Coleman’s early quartets which contrasted saxophone, trumpet, bass and drum timbres evidently stimulated their programs. Interestingly enough, both discs were recorded far from the nexus of major Jazz centres. Kege Snö was created in Heby, a municipality in east-central Sweden, not too far from Stockholm. Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival was recorded even further afield, particularly if your Jazz locus is Manhattan, Chicago or Los Angeles. The annual Penofin Jazz Festival takes place in a mountainous region 130 miles north of San Francisco. MORE

November 12, 2009

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon

Ulrichsberg, Austria
April 30 –May 2, 2009

A site-specific performance that took into account the dimensions and machinery of a still-functioning 1853 linen factory; resounding interface between pulsating electronic and acoustic instruments; and a full-force finale involving a mid-sized band were among the notable performances at 2009’s Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon.

Remarkable as well as the consistently high quality of the 11 concerts that took place during the 23rd edition of this three-day festival, is the location: a farming and small manufacturing village of fewer than 7,000 people about 60 kilometres west of Linz, Austria. MORE

July 19, 2009

Bobby Bradford Extet

Midnight Pacific Airwaves
Entropy Stereo Records ESR 018

Although Bobby Bradford’s highest profile came during the times he partnered alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman and drummer John Stevens in the 1970s, the cornetist’s most concentrated activity has been in Los Angles, where since the 1960s, he and a few other crusaders have maintained a place for experimental music in Southern California.

The never-previously-issued music here is doubly vital since most of it dates from 1977, during a decade in which Bradford, who turns 75 today, didn’t record commercially. Although Bradford’s usual front-line partner, clarinetist John Carter, is absent, his chair is ably filled by a similar polymath: flutist James Newton, another Angelo, whose influences ranging from New music to Rahsaan Roland Kirk are fully exposed. Local bassist Richard Rehwald is a strong presence, while John Goldsmith, who played with Kirk as well as Sun Ra, is on drums. An additional track, recorded in 2003, matches Bradford with clarinetist Vinny Golia for a reprise of the brass man’s “She”, also played by the quartet. This too is prescient, since the cornetist’s work with Golia in the 1990s provides a link between earlier sound explorers such as him and the multi-reedman and a later generation characterized by bassist Ken Filiano and the Cline brothers. MORE

January 15, 2005

Vinny Golia Quartet

booklet notes for Clean Feed CF 036CD

Texas-raised trumpeter Bobby Bradford has long been associated with idiosyncratic reed players. Most people know him as the brassman in an important -- but little recorded -- version of Ornette Coleman’s Quartet in the early 1960s; others recall his long partnership with the late clarinetist John Carter with whom he recorded a series of memorable, interrelated LPs in the 1970s and 1980s.

Just as noteworthy however has been his decades-long collaboration with multi-woodwind player Vinny Golia, live and on record, the most recent of which is displayed in glorious fashion on this CD. MORE

June 30, 2003


The Blue Rims
Louie Records 030

m.m.p. CD 008

Alternately ascribing a European and an American sensibility to these quartet sessions is a bit simplistic. But the fact remains that it’s more than serendipity that makes two CDs recorded live in the studio with nearly identical instrumentation about one month apart, both first rate, yet so different.

Perhaps it’s the combined experience of the musicians in each band, coupled with the fact that tenor saxophonist Rich Halley’s four blows flat out on six lengthy compositions, while baritone saxophonist Alberto Pinton’s quartet spread its music among 14 much-shorter selections. MORE