May 14, 2011
With her justifiably meteoric rise to contemporary jazz notoriety with her debut release, Bloom, trumpeter Cindy Bradley wowed us with some major moves and grooves and left us wanting and waiting for the next chapter in her musical career. Well, on June 21, her next installment, Unscripted, will be released for our consumption, and it will truly prove to have been worth the wait.
Again working with Grammy winning producer Michael Broening but with the idea of simply “winging it” – no real agenda in place – we get to witness Bradley at her finest, her jazz and blues roots exposed at their very base while she takes us on journeys on which we all have either longed to either go or return. From the very beginning, a colorful trip through every pleasant jazz/blues experience any of us could imagine abounds, loaded with excitement throughout the whole ride. Not a boring moment anywhere.
Back when I covered Bloom, I predicted that Bradley would again set fire to any misperception about the trumpet playing second fiddle (pardon any pun) to the sax, much like fellow trumpeters Rick Braun and Chris Botti had done years earlier. Unscripted just further proves me right. Front and center, full of attitude and sass and brilliance…and things to say, Bradley’s trumpet blares out “hear me, feel me.” The melodies here are charming and catchy and oh-so-full of the mystique that is good jazz.
As she and Broening discussed the direction and concept of this latest project, Bradley shared with the producer some of the behind-the-scenes things that had impacted her even as her solo career was skyrocketing. A dissolved romantic relationship and bouts with cancer for both her grandmother and her mom (and best friend) were rocking her world. Her grandmother sadly succumbed to the disease, but her mom has survived her battle and continues to do well. She says, “Michael is so good at getting in my head to see where I’m at when we work together. He knew I was going through a lot and that this would lead me to writing a lot more than I did on the first album. Ultimately, I feel that Unscripted is more ‘me’ than anything I had recorded before.” Thus, the motivation for the emotion felt and experienced in this fine piece of work.
Unscripted captures so many “contributors” to jazz: blues, funk, soul. It’s all here in abundance as part of the whole Cindy Bradley story and experience as both a musician and person. Mark the date:
June 21. Guaranteed enjoyment is headed your way. – Ronald Jackson