Geof Bradfield's writing is a revelation.
For his latest quintet recording, Chicago saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield borrows inspiration from fellow Chicagoan Clifford Jordan's 1965 Atlantic album, "These Are My Roots: The Music of Lead Belly." The focus is on Black music of the rural south - the spirituals and blues of itinerant Texas preacher Blind Willie Johnson, ring shouts from the Georgia Sea Islands, and the prison farm work songs of Lead Belly. The absence of a chordal instrument allows the ensemble to explore the open-ended nature of these folk forms. Bradfield is joined on "Our Roots" by four of the premier musicians on the Chicago scene: trumpeter Marquis Hill, trombonist Joel Adams, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall.
1. Adam in the Garden 6:40
2. Clinton Hill 6:40
3. Yellow Gal 3:43
4. Black Girl 3:11
5. Meshell 4:17
6. Before This Time Another Year 6:27
7. Lead Belly 0:19
8. Dick's Holler 6:57
9. Mbira Song 7:02
10. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground 4:36
11. Motherless Children 7:09
12. Take This Hammer 3:01
Produced by Geof Bradfield
Recorded by Scott Steinman at StudioMedia, Evanston, IL
August 19-20, 2014
Mixed & mastered by Rich Breen at Dogmatic Sound, Burbank, CA
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
All About Jazz (Dan McClenaghan)
4 1/2 STARS Discussing "roots" in the context of jazz, a good starting point is the Mississippi delta, down in New Orleans, where the music of trumpeters King Oliver and Louis Armstrong grew strong. And then there's the rich earth of the delta in north western Mississippi, up near Clarksdale, where the blues grew and blossomed. The roots from b ...
All About Jazz (Mark Corroto)
4 STARS Without the blues, there would be no jazz, and arguably, no rock-and-roll. Think about it, if there were no rock-and-roll, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who stole every American blues lick they could find in the 1960s, would have had to get real jobs. Jazz musicians suffer no illusions that their music wasn't born of the African-Ame ...
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Transplanted sax jazzbo reminds all that his adopted home of sweet home Chicago is the home of transplanted blues. Along with a crack crew of local jazzbos, Bradfield finds the jazz in Leadbelly tunes much like Clifford Jordan did back when the earth was cooling except Bradfield is his own man here. Free form and passionate, these traditional tu ...
KUCI, Irvine, CA (Hobart Taylor)
This tribute to the blues... not the Chicago macho variety, but the deeply spiritual Texas blues of Leadbelly and Blind Willie Johnson is celebrated by the likes of tenor saxophonist Bradfield, trumpeter Marquis Hill, Joel Adams on trombone, Clark Sommers, bassist, and Dana Hall, drums and percussion. I mention them all because this a truly an ense ...
Downbeat (Brian Zimmerman)
EDITOR'S PICK The idea for saxophonist Geof Bradfield's intrepid new album Our Roots sprang from a concert series in Chicago called the Fulton Street Jazz Record Art Collective, in which musicians perform a classic jazz album in its entirety. Since its inception, visiting artists have covered works by all the usual suspects - John Coltrane, Thelo ...
Downbeat (Peter Margasak)
4-STARS! An offer to revisit a classic jazz album for a Chicago concert series led saxophonist Geof Bradfield to return his attention to one of his favorite records. The experience was so good it became the germ for his superb new quintet album, on which he pays homage to the legendary blues and folk singer Lead Belly via tenor man Clifford Jordan ...
Chicago Reader (Peter Margasak)
Reedist Geof Bradfield is a student of jazz history whose big ears and broad knowledge channel his insatiable curiosity. And he's recently developed a string of creative projects yoked to unobtrusive concepts - he might draw inspiration from regional styles he encountered during his State Department-organized tour of Africa, or his tunes might conv ...
South Bend Tribune (Howard Dukes)
Geof Bradfield knows that jazz music is the last thing that comes to mind when some people think of the musician Leadbelly. Leadbelly was a folk and blues singer and multi-instrumentalist best known for such songs as "Take This Hammer," "Midnight Special," "Cotton Fields" and "Goodnight Irene," and on the surface, the music of Leadbelly has n ...
WTJU - Richmond (Dave Rogers)
Tenor sax man Geof Bradfield explains the premise of this disc as revisiting Clifford Jordan's tribute to Leadbelly when asked to put together a concert for the Fulton Street Jazz Record Collective. He and the band revisited these classic sounds while honoring the spirit that Jordan had first brought: play the old songs to honor them while adding y ...
Chicago Tribune (Howard Reich)
Chicago saxophonist Geof Bradfield long has been drawn to the music of Lead Belly, and a while ago he got to do something about it. Invited by impresario Chris Anderson to pick a favorite album and perform its music at the Fulton Street Collective, Bradfield chose saxophonist Clifford Jordan's homage to Lead Belly, "These Are My Roots." But Brad ...
Bird is the Worm (Dave Sumner)
There's something pretty cool about the way saxophonist Geof Bradfield uses old school blues and sacred music of the South as a way to pivot to varying expressions of hard bop, spiritual jazz, modern post-bop and even a quasi-contemporary jaunt on one track, while keeping the different expressions corralled under the basic concept and theme. With ...
Jazz History Online (Thomas Cunniffe)
Back in 1965, Clifford Jordan recorded an album of songs written by Leadbelly called "These Are My Roots". The album recast several folk tunes and blues in a modern jazz style without losing the flavor of the original songs. When Chicago tenor saxophonist Geof Bradfield was asked to recreate a classic jazz album of his choosing for a local concert ...
Downbeat (Michael Jackson)
In each of his four CDs for Origin, the enlightened, musician-led label from Seattle, commencing with Urban Nomad in 2008, through African Flowers (2010), Melba (2013) and Our Roots (2015), Chicago-based Geof Bradfield has proven himself a blue chip saxophonist/arranger/composer and conceptualist. Further to that, Houston-born Bradfield has emerged ...
JAZZIZ (Bob Weinberg)
Jazzing up down-home blues is nothing new. Everyone from the Adderley Brothers to Charles Mingus made use of motifs lifted from field hollers, tent revivals and juke houses. While these artists may have sought to distance themselves from painful associations with the South, a younger generation of musicians embraces these roots with reverence. O ...