Once upon a time R&B was known for great live performances marked by passion, spontaneity and even transcendence through the great soul revues at such storied venues as The Apollo Theater, The Howard Theater and The Uptown. The musicians playing behind the singers were often the finest players from the realms of R&B jazz and gospel, who delivered intricate arrangements, electrifying solos and undeniable groove. In recent times, such performances have been rare but the hunger for that special sort of musical experience is still there and maybe it just takes someone with great determination and vision to bring it back. Jeff Bradshaw, a key player in Philadelphia’s influential neo-soul scene is the man with such vision.
As a boy in Philadelphia Bradshaw performed with brass bands on Broad Street, just a stone’s throw from the spot where Philadelphia¹s most prestigious performing arts center, The Kimmel Center, stands today; he dreamed: why not bring the crème-de-la-crème of singers and players to The Kimmel for a genre-crossing one-night-only musical event that would replicate the excitement of the classic R&B revues for this generation of fans? Since Bradshaw¹s trombone has propelled horn-sections for everyone from Jill Scott to Jay Z and Erykah Badu to Kirk Franklin, this was an easy sell.
The respect accorded Jeff Bradshaw by his peers is shown by the impressive list of artists who wanted to be a part of the concert: Marsha Ambrosius, Will Downing, Black Thought of The Roots, Kim Burrell, Take 6, Najee, Bilal, Eric Roberson, Tweet, Kenny Lattimore, Trombone Shorty and Executive Producer and Grammy-winning pianist Robert Glasper, whose recent BLACK RADIO albums have been innovative fusions of jazz and R&B, becoming some of the biggest-selling jazz releases of the past decade–ironically scoring big with a concept Jeff Bradshaw had been presenting for years. Bradshaw’s Kimmel Center dream came to fruition on May 28, 2014 and the result was a sold-out success in front of a rapturous, wildly appreciative audience. HOME will be released on March 31, 2015 by Shanachie Entertainment, enabling those who were not there to enjoy the magical experience. Continue reading