Under the Sun by Patrick Bradley
– reviewed by Chris Mann
to Rick Scott of Great Scott Productions, I have a copy of
keyboardist Patrick Bradley’s second album and I’ve taken a
look at Patrick’s
to find out more about the man and his music.
Patrick is a self-taught musician who was born in and resides
in Southern California. He is eager to perform music from
“Under the Sun” live. As I said, this is his second album,
following 2007’s “Come Rain or Shine”.
On the chunky opener ‘Straight Path’ I can already draw
parallels with the work of co-producer Jeff Lorber. The
staccato right-hand piano work over this busy bassline and
sharp snare crack gets the head nodding. David Mann’s horn
arrangement adds that extra touch of pizzazz.
Tony Moore on drums keeps things moving at a cracking pace on
‘Into the Sunset’ which I love particularly for the chorus
section. The use of keyboards and guitar together in this
section is very uplifting and I also like the way a kind of
mystical Eastern feel creeps into the song just over halfway
through. When the song reverts to the chorus again, that hook
feels like an old friend. This song really is a grower.
‘A Message’ is a more electronic production with keys taking
the place of bass and drums but losing none of the urgency of
the two preceding tracks. The brass again is razor-sharp.
The tempo drops on the pretty ballad ‘Just Let Go’, featuring
Dave Koz on soprano sax and co-writer Irene Bauza on
Busy bass and Rick Braun’s tasteful muted trumpet set the tone
for the funky ‘Slipstream’. It’s perfect driving (or cycling)
music and one of my favourites from the album. Braun’s
flugelhorn solo is good, gutsy stuff, as is Bradley’s organ
solo which follows. Good boogie number.
‘Time and Chance’ has some warm piano notes floating over
another highly funky groove. That groove is delivered by Alex
Al’s bass and Dave Weckl’s rock-solid snare work – what a
team! Dwight Sills' guitar solo is subtle and provides great
flavour on the track. There’s a lovely old-school feel about
this track – it’s the sort of thing that makes contemporary
jazz endlessly appealing to me.
The snappy ‘Crows on the Lawn’ keeps the energy high and Eric
Marienthal’s flawless alto sounds as good as ever, doubling
Bradley’s keyboard line note-for-note. This will be great
played live – someone please put this on YouTube if you’re
able to sneak in a video camera…
If you read the
page of Patrick’s website you’ll see that this album was the
result of painful times as well as more optimistic moments and
‘Tears from the Sky’ reflects the more painful moments during
the record’s conception. Dwight Sills’ rock-favoured guitar
turns on the pathos and it’s hard to be untouched by this
In contrast, ‘Rush Street’ has a dark tone but funky
underpinnings. Rhythmically, it has an undeniable Lorber stamp
on it – as a joint writing and production venture that’s
hardly surprising – and it does not suffer as a result.
I think I can hear a flute on the title track and I love this
song. The keyboards from both the Bradley and Lorber camps are
joyous and the bright rhythm guitar keeps the head nodding
along just right. Compare this with ‘Tears’ and you have the
yin and yang of this record right there!
I’ve read that Patrick cites Chick Corea as an influence and
it’s for sure that ‘The Empress of Dalmatia’ has more of a
jazz-rock leaning than anything else on the record. It has
light and shade, drama – melodrama I’d even say – and at the
end of 6 minutes, the sound that stays in my head is of an
overdriven guitar amp. The song even ends like an old Yes
number. I think it could take a few more spins for me to be
fully on board…
Listening to this CD has definitely given me a taste for more
of Patrick Bradley’s music. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder
with some of the best contemporary jazz that has come out of
America over the last few years. Every song features his
impressive good taste on keyboards and his writing talent. To
enlist the production talent of Jeff Lorber and the great
chops of some of America’s top musicians was a great move. The
future of contemporary jazz is safe with guys like this
Patrick’s Song Factory – No catalog no.
Producer – Jeff Lorber