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By Geof Bradfield
Smooth in the good old swinging fashion. Honey and silk. Sax, guitar, trumpet, piano all stand out when it's their turn. A whisk you off your feet tune.
When Chicago saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield immersed himself in box after box of Melba Liston's scores at Columbia College's Center for Black Music, his hope was that his appreciation of Liston's work would deepen, enhance his own skills as an arranger, and perhaps lead to a project that would raise her profile. With a Chamber Music America grant in hand, Bradfield went on to create this six-part suite for septet, tracing Liston's career from Kansas City to her work with jazz legends to her seldom discussed stints in Motown and Jamaica. The response since its inaugural performance at the 2012 Chicago Jazz Festival has been nothing short of exuberant, drawing high praise from many, including piano great Randy Weston, Liston's collaborator of four decades ("Melba got me, and she got you!"). "The long lines, complex themes and meticulous structuring of this score point to the high craft of Bradfield's writing..." - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune.
July 20, 2013
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