Jeff Bradshaw’s story began at a dusty floored church in North Philly, where brass bands are the main attraction. He was born and raised in church and that is where he had his first musical experience. The first instrument he began playing was the snare drum. Following that Mr. Bradshaw began playing the baritone horn and sousaphone. He recalls one very powerful day in high school when everyone was asked to stand in front of the instrument they would like to play. Of course, there was a crowd surrounding the drums, guitars, saxophones, trumpets, percussion, and woodwinds, but not one person was standing near the stack of trombones in the corner. Mr. Bradshaw believes that was the day the trombone was to begin its trek to becoming the coolest instrument in mainstream music, not just jazz. Mr. Bradshaw was determined to make the trombone hip, and not just an instrument for nerds in the high school band.
As he transitioned into adulthood, Mr. Bradshaw began altering the plans for his future, realizing he wouldn’t be afforded the opportunity for college. The finances weren’t there for him to continue his education, so he bounced from job to job trying to buy time, until his (right time, right place) moment came. Unfortunately that moment wouldn’t come for another seven years.
In 1994 Mr. Bradshaw began to meet the who’s-who of what is now the hierarchy of the Philly music community. People like James Poyser, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ahmir ”Quesluv” Thompson, Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of the Legendary Roots Crew, DJ King Britt, Keith Pelzer, Darren Henson, Ivan Barrius, Carvin Higgins, and many others. It was because of these people that Mr. Bradshaw arrived into the real world of major recording, with artists like Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Floetry, Darius Rucker, Musiq, The Roots, Earth Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson, just to name a few.
It wasn’t until one night at a popular live music spot in downtown Philly called Wilamina’s, that he got his chance to step to the front of a very popular band that he played “side man” in. The leader of the band was Mr. Bradshaw’s dear friend, trumpet master, Jafar Barron. This particular evening Mr. Barron was having personal difficulties and the band would not have had a leader for the rest of the night. So Mr. Bradshaw stepped up to the front with a trombone and began to lead this hip hop soul band as if he had been waiting for that opportunity all his life.
A few years after that experience, the beautiful Jill Scott had begun to record her first album and Mr. Bradshaw was invited to become a part of that. He enjoyed every bit of recording on that record, and before he knew it, they were on the road showing the world who Jill Scott was. It wasn’t until the launch party of Hidden Beach Recordings (which was full of celebrities like Bill Duke, Carl Payne, Lenox Lewis, and many others) where Mr. Bradshaw met the man who would forever change his life, Steve McKeever (the CEO of Hidden Beach Recordings). He was a bright smiling music lover of epic proportion, but it wouldn’t be until 2002 when Mr. Bradshaw took advantage of a break taken by Ms. Scott.
Mr. Bradshaw had begun to record some original material with a producer that he’d met at Wilamina’s, named Will Brock (Can You Come Over, Little One). This marked the beginning of a nine-song demo CD that landed Mr. Bradshaw his record deal with Hidden Beach Recordings. Mr. Bradshaw explained to Mr. McKeever that they could change what people thought should be a lead instrument in mainstream music.
The gifted trombonist, a well-known fixture on the Philly music scene, brings his own style and sound grown from gospel lyricism, soul, hip hop, funk, and jazz. He plays music from his forthcoming Hidden Beach record Bone Appetit.