Cindy Bradley -- Featured Smooth Jazz Artist Archives

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Cindy Bradley — Featured Smooth Jazz Artist Archives

Oct. 2011

Cindy Bradley – A Rose Always in Full Bloom

A native of Buffalo, New York, trumpeter Cindy Bradley loves telling the story of how she became a trumpet player by accident in fourth grade: “I started playing the piano when I was six, but we had to choose a different instrument to be part of the band program. I forgot to bring my permission slip to class, so the teacher just had me randomly circle an instrument that I wanted to play. I picked the trumpet, which turned out to be a life and career defining fluke.” By age 12, she was performing professionally with “Sugar and Jazz,” a Buffalo area jazz band that consisted of young, promising musicians, ages 12-17, which emulated the big bands of the 1940s. Bradley played with many jazz groups during her formative years, but it was with this group that she fell in love with performance, jazz, and especially the trumpet.

As Bradley got older, she began listening to more straight ahead jazz musicians such as Lee Morgan, Blue Mitchell, and Oscar Peterson, real influences to the blooming trumpeter.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Ithaca College, she went to the New England Conservatory to study for her master’s in jazz trumpet performance; at the conservatory, she studied with and was influenced by many more jazz greats including John McNeil, Bob Brookmeyer, Jerry Bergonzi, George Russell, and Steve Lacy. After earning her degrees, Bradley immediately headed to the New York City area and dove right into the vibrant jazz scene, discovering equal passions for straight ahead be-bop and contemporary jazz, as well as funk, Top 40, R&B, and jazz fusion. The bands with which she was involved played clubs as well as high profile events like the Emmy Awards and even several Super Bowls in the late ‘90s.

Bradley has also applied her skills and background in a way to inspire future generations. She has conducted hundreds of jazz workshops at high school and community colleges all over the country. “These workshops are a way of giving back to the community,” she says. “It’s inspiring just to see the influence a few encouraging words can have on young people who really want to develop their passion for music. It’s amazing to realize that a lot of the younger kids I teach have never seen anyone play a live wind instrument before their eyes!”

Bradley has impressed thousands of jazz-loving adults as well over the years, touring with legendary urban jazz group Pieces of a Dream, performing in NYC with the Sly Geralds Band (bassist for Maceo Parker) and—since the release of Bloom—playing such popular events as the Big Bear Lake Jazz Festival, the Catalina Jazz Festival, Omaha’s Riverfront Jazz and Blues Festival, the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival in San Antonio, and the North Carolina Wine and Jazz Festival.

“It took me a some time to find my voice as a solo artist on trumpet and flugelhorn,” she says, “but it’s been an exciting learning process and I have had so much fun along the way meeting so many great people and being able to play for audiences who love all styles of music.” Of her latest release with Trippin N Rhythm records, she says,  “The title Unscripted certainly applies to the way Michael Broening and I went about making this album, but in a larger sense, it’s about the reality of life. Life has no script and you never know how it’s going to go as we experience its ups and downs. Working on this project was definitely a way to keep things up after going through a challenging emotional time.”

As an absolutely marvelous find for Trippin N Rhythm and the entire jazz community, there is no wonder why or how Cindy Bradley skyrocketed to notoriety so quickly.  She’s one who truly leaves you in a perpetual state of anticipation of her next offering, and I love being there. – Ronald Jackson

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