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About the Reviewer - Sheila E Ross

As a smooth jazz journalist, I sincerely support the smooth jazz genre, as I adore the sound and recognize the diligence and hard work artists and musicians place into their craft.

  sheila e ross

As an educator, I enjoy working with youth as an English teacher of eight years and see daily the strong embrace students have for music as well.

For this reason, I expose them further to the artistry.  Some students share sincere interests in musical careers so we dive deeper into the life and times of both current and late artists. Like literature, music is personal and shared from the human condition, so there is much to acquire.

To Learn More about Sheila Click here
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Jazz Reviews on JazzNet247 Radio Europe

Artist : Willie Bradley

Venue : Perfect Note

Year : 2018

Label : CLG


Personnel : Willie Bradley : Trumpet | Eric von Kimble : Guitar | Michael Ham : Saxophone | Isaiah Fogle : Drums | Chris White : Bass | Kenneth KJ Rembert : Keyboards

The Perfect Note in Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama serves as the perfect place for local smooth jazz enthusiast to assemble and enjoy a fine dinner and a show. Tremayne Thompson, owner/operator presides over a packed-house turnout by first giving honor to God, acknowledging first time visitors, and announcing the venues’ most recent victories!  You see, The Perfect Note has two BIG things to celebrate! First, recently voted as one of the top intimate jazz venues in the nation by the artist themselves, THIS EXCITING NEWS IS OUT! Secondly, The Perfect Note is expanding to MEMPHIS, TENNESEE!  BUT tonight it’s ALL about the anticipating performance of Orangeburg, South Carolina’s, International Contemporary Jazz Recording Artist/Trumpetier, and Mr. Willie Bradley! Known as the trumpeter with Heart N Soul.

Willie Bradley’s music career spans forty-five years after he sought interest in playing an instrument for his middle school band, not caring which instrument his band director assigned him. It was from here, to becoming Dizzy Gillespie’s protégé in 1985 that ignited his career! Thus, the Heart N Soul Trumpeter was born! 

After making a few additional announcements to both repeat attendees and first time visitors, Thompson finally introduces the band! He yells! He hollers! Stirring up audience excitement for his personally configured band, now nationally known, something he says no one else has done! He introduces first to the stage, drummer, Isaiah Fogle, followed by bass guitarist, Chis ‘Batman’ White, lead guitarist, Eric Von Kimble and Kenneth KJ Rembert on keyboards!

For Bradley’s grand stage entrance, the band begins to play “Doc’s Groove” and without delay Bradley steps onto the red and purple-lit stage with a keen-edged look. You can sense his love for the audience as he immediately embraces them all, almost as though he stretches his arms out-wide to hug them all. He plays in coordination with the band; he melodiously shares the stage from his heart, knowing the band members are just as important as he is! After re-introducing the band, he plays “For the Love of You,” a beautiful melody that moves him into the congregation, pleasing listeners, creating evening memories for them! 

He plays with a top-notch skill and accuracy! He plays smart and focused as he arches his back to play the trumpet at just the right angle for just the right sound to emerge. From his heart, he shares the stage with guitarist, Eric Von Kimble (lead guitarist) on “What You Won’t Do for Love”.  He works the stage thoughtfully; he plays measured and focused delighting listeners! Bradley continues the evening show with “Funktagious,” a proud newly made track of his.  Surprisingly, “Same Ole Love” delivers to the stage, Michael Ham on saxophone of the Will Downing band. Ham, an old college friend and Birmingham resident, collaborates with Bradley composing a reunion friendship-poetry for the audience. 

Bradley performs “Wishing On a Star,” followed by “Another Day in Time,” the title track on his 2013 ‘Another Day & Time’ CD.  He FINALLY pleases the crowd with his October 2017 new CD release, title track, “Going With The Flow” and the audience immediately falls in love with it. The multi-talented Thompson re-enters the stage to conduct a close-up interview with Bradley, giving audience members an opportunity to ask him a few provocative questions. Bradley says, to “Always listen to your child” as he really wanted to play in the band despite his father’s lack of support and out-right resentment. 

Bradley expressed his ability to overcome the resentment and move forward with life after years of alcohol abuse.  Bradley finishes out the evening with “Grazin in the Grass” and “I’m Ready”.  It was indeed a successful evening for him and the band!  ^

Review by Sheila E. Ross
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