Thursday, September 3, 2009

Geof Bradfield: Urban Nomad

Origin Arts
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 9.3.09
Buy CD: Urban Nomad

Much time has passed since a tasty, swinging, straight-ahead jazz quartet has come my way; this release by Chicago-based saxophonist Geof Bradfield fills the bill.

Originally from Texas, where he began his schooling, Bradfield moved to Chicago and entered DePaul University. He then went on to Los Angeles, where he received a master's degree from CalArts; moved to, and worked in, the New York area for three years; then returned to Chicago for a short time before he relocated to the West Coast and taught at Washington State University.

Bradfield returned to Chicago in 2003, where he's currently on the faculty of Columbia College and works with his own unit and several other local bands.

He uses both tenor and soprano saxes on this album. Seven of the nine tunes are originals, and all are his arrangements. His tone is clean, with minimum vibrato — Paul Desmond comes to mind — and his technique is flawless. The rest of Bradfield's group includes pianist Ron Perrillo, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer George Fludas. They compliment each other nicely, and their ensemble and solo work are excellent.

I appreciate it when standards are included in an album — in this case, “You're My Everything” and “Con Alma” — because I like to hear how their interpretation and performance compares to what other artists have done. Bradfield performs both tracks beautifully.

This unit is promising.

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