Jeff Bradshaw - Home: One Special Night at the Kimmel Center (2015)

Jeff Bradshaw
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It's the kind of aural utopia for which true music lovers literally salivate: lush, live instrumentation anchoring multiple textures and tempos in each selection, all enhanced by a dream line-up of guest players and vocalists. Such moments are best experienced as they happen, but the next best thing is a skillfully rendered live CD, which is what Jeff Bradshaw has accomplished with his first-ever recording for Shanachie Entertainment, Home: One Special Night At The Kimmel Center. 

It's the kind of aural utopia for which true music lovers literally salivate: lush, live instrumentation anchoring multiple textures and tempos in each selection, all enhanced by a dream line-up of guest players and vocalists. Such moments are best experienced as they happen, but the next best thing is a skillfully rendered live CD, which is what Jeff Bradshaw has accomplished with his first-ever recording for Shanachie Entertainment, Home: One Special Night At The Kimmel Center. 

Recorded on-site last May in Philadelphia and executive-produced by Grammy-Award-winning performer Robert Glasper, the title of Home describes exactly what it is: the celebration of a Favorite Son by fans and peers and the culmination of Bradshaw's lifelong dream to share his gifts before the city that nurtured him. Leisurely paced, yet energetically conveyed, Home retains a 'grown and sexy' vibe throughout, thanks to his trombone lacing up classic covers ("Open Your Eyes," "All This Love") and a sumptuous variety of jazz-laden, funk-fringed and even gospel-inflected original jams (including a studio recording).  

Due to the 'cool-like-dat' vibes (one can practically imagine chilled juice goblets, loosened evening ties and pedicured toes swaying to the grooves) and seamless sequencing from one number to the next, Home qualifies as a selection that can satisfyingly stream non-stop: "Love," the early Musiq Soulchild hit, is turned into a lilting and inspirational hymn via Kim Burrell; Donny Hathaway's "The World Is a Ghetto" is made blustering and brassy thanks to adding the incomparable Najee, Tony Moore and Jehovah's Chosen; and "What Must I Do," performed with Kenny Latimore, starts off sweet and segues into raw, guttural pleas that leave fans clamoring eagerly in their wake. 

When it comes to flavor, old-school and new school both share equal heft: Home's first single, a bittersweet "All Time Love" with Robert Glasper, Tweet and Eric Roberson, sounds luxurious both live and as a studio joint, and hip-hop fans will find that Bradshaw's nimble horn action and Black Thought's staccato delivery complement one another in the 'forbidden fruit' teaser, "Break You Off." Jeff and Marsha Ambrosius pluck heartstrings with the 'morning after' lament, "I Do Sincerely" while Take 6's crisp and nearly-a cappella choruses on "All This Love" elicit fond memories and much audience participation.

Jeff Bradshaw's talents on the trombone, self-taught and sharpening with each new release, prove how expressive and essential horns can be. If you're already on 'Team Bradshaw,' Home serves as a reminder of what caught your ears and got you signed up. For those who are late to the arena, this well-executed and enthralling showcase will make you anticipate Bradshaw's next musical move. Highly Recommended. 

By Melody Charles

 
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