Now, as I sit here listening to this fusion-heavy offering from one Patrick Bradley, a keyboardist with obvious skill and presence, I am reminded again of how many artists fly so low under the radar that it is almost a duty to us all to bring their style and sound to the ears of Smooth Jazz America (and the world) if we hope to keep the genre alive and relevant. How is it that these guys with these fresh ideas “miss the boat” with so much to offer? This album, Come Rain or Shine, released back in 2007, was totally invisible to me until I began sniffing around in the shadows of the land of the “big and bright.” Lo and behold, up pops this product worthy of grabbing a seat and lending an ear.
Nothing terribly flashy, nothing terribly “out there,” just a certainly fitting project for those seeking a bit of variety and some new spunk in their smooth and fusion jazz. Come Rain or Shine has the markings of what you just may be seeking.
Now, Bradley is not totally an unknown, at least among artists (sax giant Eric Marienthal is featured on this project, for crying out loud!). Bradley began playing keyboards at the age of eight and has an impressive and diverse background of smooth jazz, jazz fusion, gospel, funk, rock, and classical music under his belt. It shows. He has sold internationally in 12 countries and has reached # 26 on Radio Waves top 100. His internet presence continues to grow, as well. So, this guy is not completely off the screen, but a little recognition here in Smooth Jazz America certainly wouldn’t hurt the man. He possesses good insight into what constitutes a groove that will sail.
There are tunes of note here, and what immediately struck me was the voice of one Darlene Koldenhoven who provides the vocals on a cool little ditty called “Gabby’s Groove.” Remarkable job. There’s also a cut called “Summer Sunday”” that lays out some serious fusion work with Bradley displaying that he is no novice to the intricacies of fusion...and the man can flat-out play! Add that to some really nice and innovative interpretations and renderings, like that shown on “Mending Fences,” “Peach Cobbler,” and just a whole host of other tracks here (including one hot finale), and you’ve got a consummate product.
I understand that certain jazz fusion is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this music, a mostly light and airy variety of fusion, has the potential to (ugh, here comes the cliché!) easily lighten your load and brighten your day—but I don’t mean that as some empty cliché. I was truly excited by this artist. Maybe it’s his melodies, his style, his hooks, whatever. I do believe that he has much to offer, if only “the door” will remain open, and I think listeners play a big role in that happening.
Just give Bradley a minute of your time and see if he can’t convince you to listen for perhaps a few more minutes, and then a few more, and so on… Maybe you won’t stay for the full ride; maybe you will. You can’t know until you sit back, relax, and listen.Posted by Ronald Jackson at October 2, 2009 4:21 PM