Under the Sun by Patrick Bradley – reviewed by Chris Mann


Thanks 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 website 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 background vocals.

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 biography 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 moving song.

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 around.


Patrick’s Song Factory – No catalog no. Producer – Jeff Lorber