Geof Bradfield


Origin 82637


iTunes - $9.99

...a lively, lovely suite, bristling with trombone fanfares...and glistening in the funky sophistication that marked orchestral writing in jazz of the 1950's and 1960's.
-Neil Tesser

When Chicago saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield immersed himself in box after box of Melba Liston's scores at Columbia College's Center for Black Music, his hope was that his appreciation of Liston's work would deepen, enhance his own skills as an arranger, and perhaps lead to a project that would raise her profile. With a Chamber Music America grant in hand, Bradfield went on to create this six-part suite for septet, tracing Liston's career from Kansas City to her work with jazz legends to her seldom discussed stints in Motown and Jamaica. The response since its inaugural performance at the 2012 Chicago Jazz Festival has been nothing short of exuberant, drawing high praise from many, including piano great Randy Weston, Liston's collaborator of four decades ("Melba got me, and she got you!"). "The long lines, complex themes and meticulous structuring of this score point to the high craft of Bradfield's writing..." - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune.

Track Listing:

1 Kansas City Child 4:10
2 Central Avenue 7:29
3 Dizzy Gillespie 10:26
4 Randy Weston 8:52
5 Solo Saxophone Introduction 2:50
6 Detroit / Kingston 5:36
7 Homecoming 11:28
8 "Let me not lose my dream" 2:11


Geof Bradfield - tenor & sop. saxophones, bass clarinet
Victor Garcia - trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion
Joel Adams - trombone
Jeff Parker - guitar
Ryan Cohan - piano
Clark Sommers - bass
George Fludas - drums and percussion
Maggie Burrell - vocals (7)

Production Info:

Produced by Geof Bradfield
Recorded by Scott Steinman
at Studiomedia, Evanston, IL
September 9 and 10, 2012
Mixed & mastered by Rich Breen, Dogmatic Sound, LA
Band photos by Michael Jackson
Melba Liston photo courtesy of Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University
Cover design & layout by John Bishop

Reviews of melba!

DownBeat Magazine (David Whiteis)
Chicago-based saxophonist Geof Bradfield said he was inspired to craft a suite in honor of the late trombonist and arranger Melba Liston while he was preparing a follow-up to his 2010 recording, African Flowers (Origin). Liston's arrangements for pianist Randy Weston were among Bradfield's primary influences in composing African Flowers. Now, he ...

Chicago Music (Neil Tesser)
Geof Bradfield has drawn plenty of praise for his work as a reed soloist, and it's all deserved; on tenor and soprano saxes, plus bass clarinet and flute, his muscular, choate solos unfurl with a torrent of detail, even as he sketches the bigger picture. Surrounded by like-minded virtuosi -- as will be the case Saturday, when he plays the Green Mi ...

Chicago Tribune (Howard Reich)
You'd think that any jazz musician who wrote for Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Billy Eckstine and Randy Weston -- and also played trombone for Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Gerald Wilson -- would be known to all the world. But outside of connoisseurs, few are familiar with the pioneering work of Melba Liston, who arranged two of pianist's Weston ...

Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
Armed with some arts council money, curiosity and a good attitude, Bradfield set about digging into the works of Melba Liston, an arranger from back in the day who has generally been overlooked because she was a girl despite her contributions to jazz, Motown and island music. Bradfield composed all the sitting down jazz on board here trying to serv ...

emusic Review (Dave Sumner)
Septet session led by the saxes and bass clarinet of Bradfield, and featuring the guitar of Jeff Parker. Lays down the textures one lovely layer after the other, and builds up to a sound that Big, but embraceable as a teddy bear. Modern, yes, but really the kind of music that should rope the old-schoolers in, too. Highly Recommended. ...

All About Jazz (Hryar Attarian)
Chicago based saxophonist Geof Bradfield's Melba! is a much needed tribute to the criminally underexposed trombonist and arranger Melba Liston. Liston debuted with trumpeter, bandleader Gerald Wilson, was one of the stars of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's bebop big band and devoted herself to arranging after she met pianist Randy Weston with whom sh ...

NextBop (Alex Marianyi)
Kansas City Child. Central Avenue. Dizzy Gillespie. Randy Weston. Detroit / Kingston. Homecoming. This is the story of Melba Liston's life as told by Chicago-based saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield. Liston's is a story not often told, but she was an extremely unique trombonist and composer with a special gift for bringing out the best in th ...

All About Jazz (Hrayr Attarian)
Chicago based saxophonist Geof Bradfield's Melba! is a much needed tribute to the criminally underexposed trombonist and arranger Melba Liston. Liston debuted with trumpeter, bandleader Gerald Wilson, was one of the stars of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's bebop big band and devoted herself to arranging after she met pianist Randy Weston with whom sh ...

LongPlay: RadioJAZZ - Poland (Robert Ratajczak)
[translated from Polish] Melba Liston (1926-1999) is one of the icons of American jazz. Composer and arranger since the early 1960s, she collaborated with many including Randy Weston, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie (Dizzy Gillespie at Newport), Art Blakey and Charles Mingus (the famous album The Complete Town Hall Concert). Despite the enormous con ...

LEO Weekly, Louisville (Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.)
Saxophonist/composer Geof Bradfield enlisted his longtime employer, pianist Ryan Cohan, to play in his suite honoring Melba Liston. She was one of the first African-American women to make her name as a jazz instrumentalist (trombone) and arranger, associated over four decades with pianist Randy Weston, among many other projects. (Weston himself rig ...

Jazz Weekly (George W. Harris)
Here's a great concept for an album, and it's done just right. Reedman Geof Bradfield puts together a musical suite that is a tribute to Melba Liston, who made her mark as a section trombonist, but more importantly as an arranger for Randy Weston. The team of Bradfield with Victor Garcia/tp-fh, Joel Adams/tb, Jeff Parker/g, Ryan Cohan/p, Clark S ...

JazzTimes (Jeff Tamarkin)
The Melba of the title is Liston, a trombonist, composer, and arranger who built a formidable reputation in a mostly male world both as a leader and in her arranging and playing with Gerald Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Art Blakey, Count Basie and, especially, beginning in the late 50's Randy Weston. Weston gives saxophonist and clarinet ...

DownBeat Magaziene (Kirk Silsbee)
If for no ther reason than he's giving orchids to the neglected legacy of the late trombonist/composer Melba Liston (who died in 1999 at the age of 74), the Chicago-based saxophonist Geof Bradfield deserves our attention. It just so happens that in this release he's composed a good little suite of peices that touch on Liston's considerable artis ...

The New York City Jazz Record (George Kanzler)
Melba Liston, who died 15 years ago this month at 73, was to post-swing and bebop what Mary Lou Williams had been to the Swing Era, a woman who rivaled the most accomplished jazz arrangers and instrumentalists of her time. As a trombonist, she worked with greats of the later 20th Century, including Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie and ...

Jazz Scan (Ric Bang)
Unless you're a senior jazz fan, or you "cheated" and checked Geof Bradfield's website, you probably don't have any idea who "Melba" is, or was ... which is a shame. Melba Liston was born in 1926, loved jazz, became enamored with the trombone ("chose it because it's such a pretty horn") and became a professional musician at age 16. She didn't m ...





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