Cindy Bradley — The Little Things

May 17, 2019

It’s always a joy reviewing a new release from trumpeter Cindy Bradley. You pretty much already know that there will be some driving, pushing, solid, phat grooves coming your way. That’s just the way she rolls. Here on her latest release The Little Things, she again doesn’t disappoint as she leads with her trumpet to take us through another music wonderland and explores all the possibilities for making a track solidly a “cannot ignore” track.

With writer/producer Michael Broening at her side working his writing magic, the lovely trumpeter seduces, dazzles, and beckons one to join her in a dance (slow or up-tempo, take your pick) to celebrate c-jazz the way it was meant to be celebrate— from the soul.

Broening also offers his invaluable services on keys, piano, bass, and drum programming on all tracks while guitarist Freddie Fox, bassist Mel Brown, Skinny Hightower (who offers his skills on bass and vibes here) and other strong musicians complement the album’s allure with color and finesse.

What’s so very becoming about Cindy Bradley is not only her skill, charm, and beauty, but how she makes certain to keep that jazz element front and center in all of her music. While the soul/R&B groove get their fair share of inclusion, it’s her signature take on cool, silky c-jazz (with hints of straight-ahead heard clearly in her runs) that seems to keep it all centered for her, and Michael Broening writes with that in mind, I’m sure. It’s easy to tell that the vibe fits her like a glove. It’s Cindy’s character and personality and only Cindy’s character and personality. It shines through and presents itself with such brilliance. Just grab a listen to the lead track “Wind Chill Factor,” the title track, “Sonny’s Home,” and so many others here. There’s the class and sophistication of traditional jazz cuddling up with the swag and soul of c-jazz, and it all comes out as robust and definite jazz. She simply never loses her grip on her beginnings and early influences (John McNeil, Bob Brookmeyer, Jerry Bergonzi, George Russell, and Steve Lacy, to name s few) while ushering in her brand of Smooth.

The trumpet is a soulful, calling instrument, and Cindy Bradley has mastered its irresistible charm. Witness how easily she does it here on The Little Things or on any of her earlier material. You’ll get my point — Ronald Jackson