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Willie Bradley – Another Day & Time

Mar. 3, 2014

Enter yet another groovemaker in the form of trumpeter Willie Bradley with his debut release Another Day & Time, a project loaded with strong charm, really fine and effective melodies, and a persona all its own.

Bradley clearly understands the formula for what will make a contemporary jazz offering noteworthy. He’s done quite well in making his first outing fit that mold. Smooth, lilting grooves, nothing overwhelming, nothing overly electro-programmed – just solid playing and concepts for each tune.

Helping Bradley in a big way are young keyboardist/writer/composer Nicholas Cole (who produced the album and co-wrote many of the tracks here), another fine trumpeter Lin Rountree, and super saxmen Marcus Anderson and Jeff Kashiwa. Can you say totally winning combination?

Placing seduction clearly in his playing on pieces like “Only Time Will Tell,” which flaunts the romantic side of Bradley’s playing, while the smooth, soulful edge to many of the mid-tempo tracks is undeniably effective and appealing.

Leading off introducing himself in the appropriately-titled “Introducing Willie Bradley,” Bradley then delves in and demonstrates his skill at delivering on stompers like “I’m Ready” with saxman Anderson (another appropriately-titled track which follows the introduction right on cue).

One of my faves is the slower, captivating, and very melodic ”Starlight” featuring versatile guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno. A sweep-away moment if you’re into that magical and exotic guitar sound intermixing with the calling of a well-played trumpet. Another would be his cover of the Bobby Caldwell classic “What You Won’t Do For Love” featuring fellow trumpeter Rountree. Competent and complete.

It will have to be pretty difficult not to embrace this piece of art as its charm and draw are considerably powerful. Bradley did his homework on what works and captures every nuance he needs to make this a quality debut that will live long and, I predict, find a happy and long landing place on the Billboard charts.  A+ effort. – Ronald Jackson