Cindy Bradley - Bliss

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.

Back in 2007, as if from nowhere (but actually from Buffalo, NY), trumpeter Cindy Bradley burst onto the contemporary jazz scene with her independently released debut CD Just A Little Bit. The recognition this fine eight track collection brought led to a touring engagement with the legendary Pieces of A Dream and a record deal with Trippin 'n' Rhythm that initially garnered the critically acclaimed Bloom and then followed up with the equally good Unscripted. Both were built around the basic constructs of Bradley's velvety tones, stellar input as writer, performer and producer from Michael Broening and consistently excellent performances from Mel Brown on bass and Freddie Fox on guitars. Now (with Brown again in the line-up and bass from Kip Sophos) Cindy has reunited with Broening for her latest Trippin 'n' Rhythm project, Bliss.

Together they co-write eight out of the ten choice tunes and a case in point is 'Button Legs' that is the sort of mid tempo, easy grooving, song for which Broening is now well known. Not only does it give Bradley free reign on muted trumpet but also benefits from an extremely catchy upbeat chorus yet the most surprising track that Bliss has to offer is her ultra cool interpretation of the Duke Ellington classic 'Squeeze Me'. For those new to the wider jazz genre it provides an insight into the music from which contemporary jazz often draws its inspiration and inspiration of a different kind can be drawn from the funky, brass driven '49th & 9th' and the similarly inclined 'Sharp A Strut'.

Both feature horn arrangements from sax-man (and Cindy's hubby) Dan Cipriano while elsewhere the energetically atmospheric 'Riverside Jive' is bound to draw comparisons with Bradley's hit tune 'Massive Transit' from her Unscripted CD. 'Comin' Home To My Baby' is a jazzy amalgam of New Orleans and country rock influences yet, in keeping with Cindy's previous albums, she is often at her best when adopting a mellifluously mellow mood.

A case in point is the muted magic of 'Could It Be You' and, although things stay relaxed for 'God Bless The Open Road', the ultra cool 'Lost and Found' finds Cindy branching out to check every smooth jazz box imaginable. However, in terms of personal favorites, one need look no further than the chilled out title cut. This soothing yet compelling gem is the kind of number that helps Bradley stand out from the crowd and comes highly recommended.

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