Jeff Bradshaw - Bon Appetit

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole�s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul.

It was in 2003 that trombone player; vocalist and producer Jeff Bradshaw made a tilt for solo stardom with the CD Bone Deep. Of course since then he has featured often with many of his Hidden Beach label-mates but now has come roaring back with a double album which might yet prove to be one of the best cross-over releases of 2012. It�s titled Bone Appetit and what Bradshaw is really all about can be summed up in the one minute and thirty seven seconds of the opening number �Searching�. Atmospheric, urban and hypnotizing, this is what he routinely does best and, in an expansive collection that explores the varying complexions of jazzy R & B, Bradshaw also proves himself to be the undisputed master of urban trombone.

Make no mistake this is a fabulous body of work. �Til Tomorrow� has an urgency that is infectious and is added to in no small measure by vocals from Raheem DeVaughn and Ms Jade. It�s a track that is entirely current and when Bradshaw gets his hands on a fabulous cover of the Toni Toni Tone blockbuster �Lay Your Head On My Pillow� (from the 1994 project Sons Of Soul) he conjures up a real highlight. Another cut right there with the album�s best is the sparse yet horn enriched �Looking For Love� yet elsewhere a clever sample from Joni Mitchell�s �Big Yellow Taxi�, a cool vocal from Marsha Ambrosius and sweet horns from Brass Heaven all combine to make �Got Til It�s Gone� really something special.

Of course Ambrosius is one half of the duo Floetry. The other is Natalie Stewart and she joins Bradshaw for �I See The Sunshine� where she is instrumental in serving up a heady slice of deep neo soul. More soul of the neo variety comes in the form of the intense �Umi Says� while later, and developing from Bradshaw�s earthy vocals, �I Don�t Know How� evolves into an ultra catchy, trombone driven gem with a warm and comforting vibe. That said, one of the more interesting songs is �Wait Around Love�. Check out Peter White�s �Lullaby� from his Caravan Of Dreams collection then segue to this tender number where Randy Bowland on guitar utilizes the same melody as a backdrop to Bradshaw�s sensitive vocal.

�So Thankful� is a tasty excursion into deep soul where vocal honors are sublimely shared between Bradshaw and singing sensation Coko. Indeed, Bone Appetit has much to commend it but all things considered the extremely easy grooving �All Day Lovin� is my selection for Secret Garden top tune. Not only does it enjoy sumptuous backing vocals from Kindred The Family Soul but also allows Bradshaw, not for the only time, to demonstrate the trombone as a much-underrated contemporary jazz instrument.

Not only does Bone Appetit conclude with a bonus outro of the title cut but those who have purchased Bone Appetit Vol 2 (which comes as a digital exclusive or special limited edition two-CD set), can enjoy seven additional tracks including those featuring Maysa, Brass Heaven and Bradshaw�s version of the Maze classic �Happy Feelin�s�. Check it out. There is much to enjoy.

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on