Patrick Bradley — Under The Sun

April 16, 2011

There is music for music’s sake and then there is music with a purpose, a concretely set path that you feel throughout the project. The latter is the case with this sophomore release from keyboardist/pianist Patrick Bradley, a jazz fusion artist who instills a taste of spirituality in his smooth grooves on this album, Under the Sun.

The album is due for release on April 26, a most significant date for the artist as it is his birthday and the anniversary of his father’s passing (I might note here that it is also my own departed dad’s birthday; so, this project is truly and profoundly inspirational from a personal standpoint).  Bradley’s mom passed away 11 months to the day after his dad. Talk about brow-raising events. However, Bradley converted his sorrow into this masterful display of hope, adventure, and spirituality via his faith in a very special way, slightly atypical when you think of the usual spiritual or inspirational projects. Full of laughter, joy, and serenity, Bradley lets go on some of the sweetest melodies and uplifting up-tempo grooves you could ever hope to hear on a well-done contemporary jazz production.

While still staying within the light of fusion, this album is also a very marked nod to the spirit and good vibes of what we have come to know as good ol’ smooth jazz with a good funky twist tossed in.

The lead track, “Straight Path” bolts out of the gate with a fervor and energy that shouts power jam, complete with smart spots of funk (yes, even funk inspires—let’s not forget!).  Bradley actually refers to this track as his “life verse” as it’s about trusting the Almighty for guidance.  This track is representative of how Bradley interprets his brand of inspirational music and how he sees expressing it.  Very appealing.

Joining the keyboardist and adding to the glow of this album are the illustrious and prolific Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Nate Phillips, Rick Braun, Dwight Sills, vocalist Irene B., Dave Koz, David Mann, and Dave Weckl, among others. I think being able to attract such an all-star cast speaks volumes about the album’s inspirational properties.   Everyone brings his or own personality to this impressive work of art.

There are too many joy-filled, melody-filled, funk-filled, inspiration-filled pieces here to single out each and every one (I will say that track 3’s totally funked-out “A Message,” the sweet and caressing track 4, “Just Let Go,” with the sultry vocals of Irene B., and track 8’s very beautiful “Tears From the Sky” are definitely among my faves).

Suffice it to say that Bradley’s concept and motivation worked very well indeed.  A marvelous endeavor that should prove to be universally impressive. – Ronald Jackson