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Patrick Bradley: Press

There is a litany of excuses that most of us default to when we tell ourselves that we can't chase our dream. “I'm too old”, “my job leaves me with no time,” “I let go of it while we were raising the kids and now it's too late.” “I should use the money for something more practical.” And so on. So here is Patrick Bradley, who last year released his second CD, Under The Sun, which climbed the charts, got rave reviews, and featured a dream lineup of musicians including Dave Koz, Rick Braun, and producer/collaborator Jeff Lorber. 

Bradley is a self-taught keyboard player who left the life of a touring musician when he was in his twenties so he could raise a family. He climbed the ranks at the Whole Foods grocery chain and added more and more responsibilities. eventually landing in California as a Regional Vice President. He and his wife, Lisa, raised two kids. He listened to music, he played when he could, and then a few years ago, deep into midlife, he decided to record his first album. He financed it, wrote it, recorded it and released it. and it introduced him to the contemporary jazz audience. 

A  few years later he went back into the studio, this time guided by Jeff Lorber, who he had recently met. He released Under The Sun, which industry pros and fans agreed was one of the best releases of 2011. He could have said he was too old to start something new, or too busy, or that he needed to put his money elsewhere but here he is, still working his “daytime job” and managing to fit in quality time for his family, his faith, and his music. And for this conversation, which began at the exact time it was scheduled. After all, if you are going to live multiple lives it helps to be organized.


SmoothViews (SV): This album has brought you a lot of attention but I have been listening to your debut CD, which actually flew by me when it came out. It was great too, but it didn't get a lot of publicity.

Patrick Bradley (PB): Yeah, and for whatever reason Under the Sunhas gotten a lot of attention

 

SV: It's probably because independent media are more mobilized now and able to get behind music we discover and enjoy, we have the reedom to play it, and we have more clout than we did before. If a bunch of people discover something the buzz can spread pretty fast, especially when it is really strong and doesn't sound like everything else.
PB:  That came from working with Jeff Lorber. He really wanted to keep my style the way it was and not do anything that would make it sound like albums that were already out there.

SV: When you started working on this one did you have any idea it was going to get as much attention as it has?
PB:  I had a gut feeling that it would because I had a lineup of musicians that I knew would open some doors, but I didn't know how far it would go. I'm very pleased and happy with how it has turned out. It became what I was hoping it would become.

SV: I read that you wrote these songs then brought them to Jeff Lorber and he collaborated on them.
PB: I brought all the structure and Jeff and I worked on the songs.  There are several that we completely wrote 
together. The song “The Message” is a great story. We were trying to pick one of the last songs for the CD and 
listening to a bunch of my stuff. He found one little nugget in one of my songs and we ended up writing an entire song based on that one piece. Working with Jeff really helped me hone my craft too. Obviously he helped with the songwriting and instrumentation but he was also really instrumental in creating the overall sound of the album. 

SV: How did you end up working with him?
PB: I met him through Dave Koz. Dave and I became friends years ago through the sale of wine and through his cruises, of all things. I mentioned to him that I wanted to record another album and possibly hire a producer. I asked him about Jeff and Dave looked at me with that funny grin of his and said he could introduce us. Jeff and I met at a coffee house. I gave him a CD with all the songs on it. The hand off is always hard. I'm thinking “Oh God, I hope he likes this stuff.” You're kind of vulnerable when you're giving something you worked on to someone at that level. 

SV: To say the least! 
PB: I've always looked up to Jeff; I've loved his music for years. Here I am meeting him and handing it over. And he liked it!

SV: Did he listen there or contact you later?
PB: He had to run and I had to go back to work so he listened to it that day and called me back and said he would work on the project. So shortly after that we went into the studio and put the structures together. It was fun.

SV: The way that happened is so telling as far as how we live today. You meet a major artist who has been a big influence on your work, hand over a song you have done most of the work on already, then head off to the day job. 
PB: That's exactly how it happened. All musicians know that when you do that you're kind of vulnerable. You're saying “Here's my music, hope you like it.” Fortunately he did and he actually made it better.  Working with somebody like Jeff, I really wanted to be open to whatever happened. That really opened the door for a bunch of creativity on my side, on his side, and with everyone who played on it.

SV: Can you verbalize what happened?
PB: A whole bunch of magic! The way it fell into place was amazing too. My “day job” is more like a 24/7 job. I have been working for Whole Foods for 26 years. I love it and I have a lot of responsibilities so I don't have a lot of extra time. Neither do the musicians who were in these sessions because they have so much going on with their own careers. 

SV: How did you juggle that?
PB: I basically took a week off to spend with Jeff and we put the structure of all the songs together and did the arrangements. Then the craziest things would happen. Two guys would be in town on a certain day. I would be in LA at the same time. Boom! Rick Braun and Dave Weckl are set up to do their song in one day! This kept happening over and over.

SV: I think they call that God.
PB: I certainly did ask for a lot of blessings and they kept coming. Michael Thompson, who is a wonderful guitarist with a heavy schedule would be available at the perfect time, Dwight Sills just happened to be in LA when we could work on the album. All these people were available when we needed them.

SV: So you kept adding layers to these songs. Did they just come in and lay their tracks down when they were “coincidentally” in the area?
PB: Yeah. The structures were written out and they had a lot of freedom to take what was there, groove on it and make it their own and that's what everybody did. Then when it is all done and put together I was totally wowed by it. It happened quickly too. I was concerned about how much time I could put into it working around my job responsibilities and I wanted the quality to be there. It went smooth and quick and easy.  

SV: Most of the people who play at your level have one job, and that is to play music. It's really demanding with the travel, practices, doing gigs, recording and having to take on the things that record companies used to do like promotion and actually running their own labels. Here you are playing at that level and you have an extremely demanding job that involves covering a large territory on top of everything else. How do you do it?
PB: It starts with getting a whole lot of support. My wife is a tremendous help. We are in a place in our lives where our children are out of the house – they are 24 and 28 – so we both have time we didn't have before.

SV: Didn't you decide to not do music full time so you could have a family life?
PB: I did leave the music scene to raise a family.  I toured with a rock band when I was in my twenties but I couldn't make any money. I came back from being on tour, my wife got pregnant with our second child, and I wanted more stability so I decided to go back to what I knew. I had been in grocery retail before so I started with a natural foods chain called Mrs. Gooch's. Whole Foods bought us in the 90's and I worked through the ranks to where I am now. I actually went to Chicago for four years then came back to California about four years ago which was perfect timing because all the musicians are here. Throughout those 20 years I was writing and playing. I just didn't do anything with it until 2007.

SV: Were you doing any gigs at all? 
PB: I would jam with friends and play and write at home but I didn't go out and play live. I was being Family Guy – hanging with the family, raising kids and doing the other job.

SV: Your wife came on during another interview you did, she sounded like she is really great and into it?
PB: I couldn't do any of this without her. The beauty of it is that she's into horses and she's a dressage rider who competes at very high levels so we both have our loves and passions in other places. 

SV: You do the cycling on top of everything else. I don't see how you fit it all in!
PB: I do have to give something up and that is usually what goes by the wayside. I may get out and ride my bike once a week, but I go out with a group and knock out 60 miles or so.

SV: Unbelievable! (laughs)  What brought you to the point where you decided to actually do your first CD?
PB: I don't know. This has been my dream since I was a kid. I walked up to an organ at a friend's house when I was eight years old and I was just attached to it. From that point on I was clear in my mind that I wanted to be a musician. I think the dream went dormant during the years when I focused on my career and my family then 
one day I just got this strong feeling that I needed to record an album. It popped in my head as clear as day that it was time. That project took a long time, it took about three years to finish. I was able to get Eric Marienthal on the record which was a very big deal. He's such a wonderful player that he made the melodies just soar. I got some attention on the album even without a lot of promotion

SV: I saw something you said that was such a sign of the times. You said that if you didn't make money on this one you wouldn't be able to do another one. That's the reality that a lot of musicians are living right now. You just put it out there and said it.
PB: At this point in my life I look at it realistically. If it doesn't work I can't just pour more money into it because it sure isn't cheap. I don't have a label behind me, so it is my hard earned money that is going into it. You have to look at it and decide if that's where  you want to spend it. I probably will do another one in about a year or so.  I've also been able to get out and play live some. 

SV: How do you get out there with your schedule? 
PB: I found some fantastic local musicians and we've been doing some gigs they are going really well. That's spreading the word around and it's been fun.

SV:  The idea of touring is pretty much impossible for you isn't it?
PB: Yeah, I can't do it. With my life right now and my career where it is there is no way that I could tour. That's OK. I love what I do. Whole Foods has been a real blessing. I couldn't do any of this stuff without having that. We're doing some great things in the world and I'm proud of that too.

SV: Whole Foods actually did a fund raising tie in with your album recently didn't they?
PB: We have a foundation called Whole Planet Foundation, which raises money to help people out of poverty through micro loans. It's a great foundation. Last March we raised over five million dollars from our customers and team members. I decided to donate part of the proceeds from the sale of each CD countrywide. We just started that so I actually don't even know how that is going right now, it's too early in the game to tell.

SV: Is this nationally or regionally?
PB: Nationally. 

SV: So people can pick up the CD at their local store?

PB: Yes they can.

SV: That's a great way to get your music out there too because internet marketing mostly hits people who are already in the loop. 
PB: Yeah, and for retail I put a sticker on with Jeff's name, and Dave and Rick's and the other guys they might recognize because they probably don't know who I am. Hopefully they will soon (laughs).

SV: Your liner notes have little pieces about the inspiration and thoughts behind these songs. They  make reference to your faith as a Christian and feelings for people, places, and even things like the feeling you get when you are cycling. That's something that is much easier for a songwriter to do when they can use lyrics. You're telling a story without using words. How does that process work for you? How do you convey that to the listener?
PB: I think people have to take music into their imagination and bring it into their hearts. For me, an idea will come to mind and I'll try to get the melody and feeling of that idea and put it to music. It is hard sometimes. If you listen to “Mending Fences” on the first album there are some heart rending melodies in that song. The same thing with “Tears From the Sky” on the new one. I wrote that for my father when he passed away. I think it's just a matter of interpretation. “Straight Path” is a grooving funk piece and it's really about Proverbs - about trusting the Lord and he will make your path straight even when you are having a lot of challenges. People ask me how I came up with such a funky groove for a song with that theme and I just say “that's  who I am.” That's what comes to my heart when I am writing songs. That particular song was always chorded into Proverbs. 

SV: You went through some difficult stuff and wrote that “Straight Path” was about continuing and not letting that drag you down. Right now a lot of people are going through that and it's hard to not get stuck or thrown off when it happens. Was it hard for you to move forward at the time.
PB: I really believe that God has given us music for many reasons. Music just pierces right through your heart and it moves us all. For me it's a way of healing, a matter of doing something with the emotions. Both my parents passed away in less than a year. The recession hit. The world was changing. But I found myself at a place in life where I could still go out and do this album. That was a struggle too, because it takes a lot financially and I was guilting myself about that. In the end I had to do it. I had to put the music out there to partially help me get through it, and to help others get through whatever they were going through. Losing your parents is difficult. It was natural – the effects of old age – but that is still difficult. 

SV: Your father passed on your birthday didn't he?
PB: He did. I had a feeling it was going to happen but it still makes you look at life and go “Wow! That's not random.”  The majority of these songs aren't sad though. If anything, the album is about celebrating the life you have. 

SV: You even have some real rock fusion stuff on here like “Empress of Dalmatia” which is my favorite song on the album.
PB: Mine too. My wife and I were in Croatia with some friends from Whole Foods and I was just blown away by the beauty of the ancient cities. That imagery went deep in and that song came out. I don't know how to explain that.

SV: You were self-taught. How did you start out?
PB: I started out on a funky little organ that was around when we were kids. The one that had the numbers and the push button chords. 

SV: I remember those. The kid down the street for me had one.
PB: That's how I found one. A kid down the street had one and I wanted one for Christmas so my parents got it for me. It had 15 keys. I remember that to this day. I played that for a while and when my parents figured out I was serious they bought me another organ. I just got whatever books I could and taught myself. I was doing rock stuff: Deep Purple, Elton John, and such. I was all over the place. It wasn't until I was practically a teenager that I got into progressive rock and fusion and it seemed like my skills just built up overnight. It was probably over several years though.

SV: Did you ever take lessons? 
PB: I did when I was in college. I did two years of classical music at a local college. My heart just wasn't in that. It just wasn't there for me. I went back to jazz and fusion.

SV: During the time that you were being the family guy and not performing did you do a lot of practicing?
PB: I played at night after the kids went to bed. 

SV: How do you develop this level of skill, and to the point where artists of this caliber are working with you when you aren't in the business full time?
PB: Just listening to music and imitating it and learning it is what worked for me. Whether it was things like Return To Forever and Jeff Lorber or progressive rock bands. I spent a lot of time learning music and chord structure from Yes. Their roots are really classical and they did some incredible stuff.

SV: I find it amazing that someone could just sit down with music from people like that and learn it. 
PB: I really did spend a lot of time learning crazy fusion stuff like Bill Bruford and Jeff Beck and Herbie Hancock. Those guys were my influences and I tried to learn as much as I could of that. There weren't really any boundaries because it was just me.

SV: You have a “daytime job” and you are an independent artist. Do you think that gave you more freedom to do it the way  you wanted to do it. 
PB: Absolutely. I do have a lot of freedom and I didn't have anyone trying to tell me what to do and as a producer, Jeff was careful not to rein me in too much. I think you can sense that in the album because there are all types of songs. I even felt like I got away with something when I recorded “Empress of Dalmatia.”  It's like “Wow. I got it on the record!”

SV: And we love it that you did. This one still new in terms of the lifeline of a contemporary jazz album but I hope you do get to do a follow up.

PB:  I am in the middle of writing right now. I have lots of songs but I want some fresh stuff so I am right in the middle of writing and giving myself a few months to sort out and finish the songs I want to consider recording. I think this time my approach might be different. I'm thinking of putting some structures together then just going in the studio to see what magic happens. And I think I am going to work with Jeff again on this one. I'm hoping to have another big cast of characters, maybe even more than last time. Who knows!

Shannon West - Smooth Views (Jun 4, 2012)
  • Artist / Group Name: Patrick Bradley

  • CD Title: Under The Sun

  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern

  • Year Released: 2011

  • Record Label: Patrick’s Song Factory

  • Tracks: Straight Path, Into the Sunset, A Message, Just Let Go, Slipstream, Time and Chance, Crows on the Lawn, Tears from the Sky, Rush Street, Under the Sun, The Empress of Dalmatia

  • Musicians: Patrick Bradley (Piano , Keyboards, Organ, Mini Moog), Jeff Lorber (Rhodes, Keyboards, Clavinet, Bass Synth, Drums, Guitar, Mini Moog), Alex Al (Bass), Dwight Sills (Guitar), Tony Moore (Drums), Nate Phillips (Bass), David Mann (Horns, Arrangements), Michael Thompson (Guitar), Dave Weckl (Drums), Dave Koz (Saxophone), Rick Braun (Flugelhorn, Trumpet), Eric Marienthal (Alto Saxophone), Irene Bauza (Vocals) 

  • Rating: Five Stars

Under The Sun by Patrick Bradley

Under the Sun is the title of the outstanding contemporary jazz release on Patrick's Song Factory from the masterful keyboardist/composer Patrick Bradley.  His initial solo release, Come Rain or Shine, appeared four years ago serving as the artist's formal introduction.  On Under the Sun the artist has emancipated all his enormous creative chops to craft a modern tour de force that provides gratifying classy excellence throughout.  Bradley states that the idea lying at the root of this record, after reflection of his own life, was the philosophized principal to enjoy life during the brief time we partake of under the sun pursuing ones dreams, hopes and aspirations.  He has wisely recruited Jeff Lorber to adeptly produce the record, aid in co-writing several of the songs, and to also provide a measure of his singular trademark Philly funk/fusion flavored keyboards to the mix.  Numerous other distinguished contemporary jazz heavyweights are also on hand.  These imaginative, sleekly resourceful artists ardently give their significant support to Bradley, tightly embracing these marvelous melodies, with the entire package sumptuously enhanced by its jewel-like production.     

The first cut, "Straight Path," immediately secures a soulful groove nourished by Alex Al on bass, Tony Moore on drums, and Dwight Sills on guitar.  Lorber and Bradley provide the primary harmonizing punch on keyboards with David Mann interjecting some beguiling musical intrigue with freshly placed horn counterpoints.  Patrick states in the liner notes that the muse for this song was Proverbs 3:5-6 from the Bible, which he firmly asserts is his "life verse."  The assembled musicians play with unswerving vigor and steadfast spirit. 

The second song, "Into The Sunset," is another solo-penned composition from Bradley.  Written with his wife Lisa in mind, the song boasts an appealing inspirational touch and contains a particularly captivating piano-fed melody to celebrate his love for her.  It is a simply gorgeous tune, with Michael Thompson adding lovely acoustic guitar fills that imbue the tune with graceful sinuous sunbeam strokes.

Marching merrily along, "The Message," is thickly saturated with keyboard substance and horns arranged skillfully.  The simple rhythm furnished by Lorber on drums and bass synth is merely an excuse for the varied keyboards to punctuate the melody like a zealous English professor.  Perhaps the message conveyed herein is to always improvise with style.  "Just Let Go" is a beautifully introspective ballad that glides along gently, in large part fueled by the heavenly saxophone of Dave Koz paired with some shadowy contemplative vocals by Irene B.  Bradley's sensitive piano is ethereally incandescent and makes an exquisite and blissful sentry to Koz's elegant tones.   

The energetic "Slipstream" is assertively upbeat and features flugelhorn and trumpet master Rick Braun soaring spellbindingly over the churning rock steady drums of Tony Moore and the beaming bass lines of Nate Phillips.  The prominently displayed keyboard teamwork of Lorber and Bradley is full of swirling brawn.  The liner notes provided by Bradley suggest his hobby of road cycling encouraged the positive flow inherent on this smart and thrilling blast of ingenuity.  The hustling velocity readily conveyed in the song is fun and exhilarating, accurately resembling a down-hill bike run.     

Bradley reaffirms his talent extends to Moog and all manner of keyboards on the progressive "Time and Chance."  Drummer Dave Weckl displays why his services are in high demand with a stand-out demonstration of polished perfection.  The tart horns contrast nicely with the smooth keyboards and the electrical current flows freely with rapid tempo changes.  "Crows On The Lawn" is most notable for a fabulous horn riff courtesy of Eric Marienthal on alto saxophone alongside Jeff Lorber on his Rhodes surging together with Patrick's piano on a delightful jaunt that bites with contemporary wit.  In addition, inside the groove lies yet another unforgettable melodic triumph.

The Lorber/Bradley composition "Tears From The Sky" has a beautiful harmonizing of keyboards with a periodically piercing lead guitar to emit an air of inspirational optimism despite current gray skies overtones.  Dwight Sills' prime guitar solo is crucial to the song's distinguishing atmospheric stimulus.  Bradley's piano play is bittersweet conveying happiness and sadness simultaneously.      

Dwight Sills again splendidly impresses with fiery fretwork on guitar on the brisk fusion flavored "Rush Street."   Patrick says that the song was inspired by Chicago, a city he loves.  This tune does communicate a sense of hustle and bustle associated with a large metropolis.   The keyboards parade on a groove somewhat akin to the sensation of Ramsey Lewis's "In Crowd."  The potent rhythm section is bolstered by an Alex Al abrupt effective bass lead.   When all these powerful ensemble elements dovetail, it makes a showy spectacle of persuasive delight.

The title track, "Under The Sun," features percolating keyboards to jazzily infect the melody with a funk filled stream that coolly boils.  It's as if the various keyboards used by these skilled masters are dueling; but with rubber tips on their swords (i.e. having great fun) as they clash. 

The progressive rock keyboard wizardry of ELP's Keith Emerson from the pomp and circumstance era of "Tarkus" is present on the final song, the stately majestic "The Empress of Dalmatia."  Starting slowly, the rhythm builds to striding crescendos of guitar and exploding pyrotechnical keyboards seemingly serving to proclaim a forthcoming regal coronation.  Although the song may call to mind a bygone era; it nonetheless sounds fresh and modern.

Abounding in substance and fully loaded with lasting extraordinary melodies, Patrick Bradley's Under The Sun is unsurpassed listening enchantment.  The confidently positive stance manifested on this work is highly charismatic.  To say this release is "radio ready" is an understatement.  The hard part would be deciding which cut to release first.  is inundated with entertaining songs, masterful technical musicianship, and sterling production values heaped onto the base foundation.  It all tallies up to a superior contemporary jazz masterpiece that I will surely cherish for the remainder of my days under the sun. 

There has been a lot of discussion on the social networking and industry websites about the future of the genre we call "smooth jazz." Let's face it, over the last 10 years or so this music was gutted in the name of smoothing it out. It's hard to rise out of the ashes and make a statement album that lets us peek into a much more exciting future when industry culture still clings to the old ways. That's probably why this album had to come out as an independent project. It's a fearless one that takes the best elements of the accessible fusion/contemporary sound of the late 80s and melds it with a post-smooth intensity and 21st century production. A lot of reviewers have been calling this smooth but I don't see that because it breaks every smooth rule and it is not background music. He and collaborator/co-writer Jeff Lorber have taken it above and beyond smooth. Patrick Bradley's second CD, Under the Sun, is energized, complex, entertaining, uplifting and downright fun to listen to. 

Look at the supporting cast on this project. Bradley and longtime friend Jeff Lorber have pretty much collaborated on this set. All the songs are Bradley originals with Lorber co-writing 8 of them. The perform as a duo on every track, trading licks from every kind of keyboard - piano, synth, Rhodes, Clavinet, Organ, and more - on what is obviously a keyboard driven album but gives you a good shot of guitar pyrotechnics and dirty horns too. The noticeable difference between this and traditional smooth keyboard music is that both men play with a powerful touch, they don't overload the songs with grace notes and lightly caressed keys, that "tickling of the ivories" sound that can make smooth piano projects sound draggy. They brought in Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal and David Mann, who did the horn arrangements. Rick Braun, guitarists Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson, studio heavy hitters Alex Al and Nate Phillips and fusion drum hero Dave Weckl.

 

The song Weckl plays on, "Time and Chance," "A Message," and the progressive rock tinged anthem "Empress of Dalmatia" sum up the adventurous spirit of this album. "A Message" percolates over a catchy little loop with Mann's horn section jumping in between the keyboard driven melody line. “Time and Chance” starts out smooth, segues into a bouncy rhythm,then Lorber and Bradley trade keyboard lines, bassist Alex Al gets to solo and the keyboards go retro fusion with some Chick Corea influenced riffing on Rhodes and Moog (!). There is a lot of rock guitar towards the end of this album, mostly delivered by Dwight Sills. He has a crunchy solo on “Rush Street,” brings Jeff Beck flavor to the beautiful song Bradley wrote for his late father, “Tears In The Sky,” and powers it up in “The Empress of  Dalmatia.” This song is incredible. It brings instrumental rock into the contemporary/(gasp)smooth soundscape in all its pyrotechnic glory. Guitars and keyboards soar throughout as the song builds toward its majestic finale. The more conventional fare is equally tasty, especially the opening track, “Straight Path,” a Bradley-Lorber showcase and “Slipstream” which gives Braun a chance to cut loose and play the way he does at his live gigs. 

There is a strong spiritual foundation to this album. It celebrates Bradley's Christian faith, his parents' legacy, his family, his music, the outdoors, and life itself. There is also a very spirited foundation to this album. These musicians sound like they are having a grand time playing these songs! Lorber sums it up best in his liner note blurb where he thanks Bradley for “being so open to trying a lot of things with your music to make it better. It was a blast.” When you hearUnder The Sun you will be saying the same thing.

What is the recipe for a successful album? Elect Jeff Lorber as your executing producer, write some intelligent arrangements and let them play by musicians like Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal, Rick Braun, Dwight Sills, Michael Thompson, Alex Al, Nate Phillips, Tony Moore, Dave Weckl, David Mann and Irene B.

Southern California native Patrick Bradley uses this recipe for his second album Under The Sun, which was released April 26th, 2011. Patrick comments: “The idea behind this record is to enjoy life and celebrate all it offers during the brief time we have under the sun. No matter what life dishes up, we should keep our dreams alive and pursue our passion, hopes and aspirations.

The last few years have been challenging for all of us as we find ourselves in times of change and uncertainty. Seasons of change hit home for me personally when my parents passed away. I found myself in a period of reflection. These songs were written in times of joy, sorrow and triumph, yet with an eye on eternity. Life is speeding by. My hope is that we all will take the time to prioritize and tend to the important things and important people and relationships, and not just chase the mad pursuits of this life.”

Following this spirit the album starts with Straight Path. Patrick's melody run is echoed by David Mann's horns. Jeff Lorber adds some delicate Rhodes phrases. Patrick dedicates the following song Into The Sunset to his wife. The easy going song symbolizes his hope for liberation of all troubles and pursuits.

Patrick developed the dynamic theme of A Message with Lorber's help from some raw music material he previously recorded. The magic of Just Let Go bases on Dave Koz sax mastery and Irene B's sultry vocal participation. Easy riding the road with your cycle. This feeling of freedom, freshness and swiftness is all to find in Slipstreamfeaturing Rick Braun on muted trumpet and flugelhorn.

Live life to the fullest is the message of the speedy Time And Chance with a grandiose interaction of Lorber on Rhodes, Patrick on organ and David's horns in between. Crows On The Lawn showcases Eric Marienthal in a horn propelled piece with organ application. Patrick wrote Tears From The Sky for his dad, who passed away on Patrick's birthday followed months later by his mother. The song is full of sadness and melancholy, but also full of inner peace and trust.

With the uplifting Rush Street Patrick assimilates his memories and imaginations of Detroit, where he lived for four years. On the title song Patrick and Jeff share their brilliant skills on organ, moog and everything else with keys. The Empress Of Dalmatia reminds of the great 70's concept albums of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Pictures of An Exhibition) revealing the beauty of the Dalmatian city of Dubrovnik overlooking the shimmering Adriatic Sea.

Under The Sun is an homogeneous fusion jazz album of Patrick Bradley, a blessed composer and musician, and the fusion jazz expert par excellence Jeff Lorber. Compared to other Lorber productions Patrick knows to show his own signature sound, that makes his album so unique.

There is music for music’s sake and then there is music with a purpose, a concretely set path that you feel throughout the project. The latter is the case with this sophomore release from keyboardist/pianist Patrick Bradley, a jazz fusion artist who instills a taste of spirituality in his smooth grooves on this album, Under the Sun.

The album is due for release on April 26, a most significant date for the artist as it is his birthday and the anniversary of his father’s passing (I might note here that it is also my own departed dad’s birthday; so, this project is truly and profoundly inspirational from a personal standpoint). Bradley’s mom passed away 11 months to the day after his dad. Talk about brow-raising events. However, Bradley converted his sorrow into this masterful display of hope, adventure, and spirituality via his faith in a very special way, slightly atypical when you think of the usual spiritual or inspirational projects. Full of laughter, joy, and serenity, Bradley lets go on some of the sweetest melodies and uplifting up-tempo grooves you could ever hope to hear on a well-done contemporary jazz production.

While still staying within the light of fusion, this album is also a very marked nod to the spirit and good vibes of what we have come to know as good ol’ smooth jazz with a good funky twist tossed in.

The lead track, “Straight Path” bolts out of the gate with a fervor and energy that shouts power jam, complete with smart spots of funk (yes, even funk inspires—let’s not forget!). Bradley actually refers to this track as his “life verse” as it’s about trusting the Almighty for guidance. This track is representative of how Bradley interprets his brand of inspirational music and how he sees expressing it. Very appealing.

Joining the keyboardist and adding to the glow of this album are the illustrious and prolific Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Nate Phillips, Rick Braun, Dwight Sills, vocalist Irene B., Dave Koz, David Mann, and Dave Weckl, among others. I think being able to attract such an all-star cast speaks volumes about the album’s inspirational properties. Everyone brings his or own personality to this impressive work of art.

There are too many joy-filled, melody-filled, funk-filled, inspiration-filled pieces here to single out each and every one (I will say that track 3’s totally funked-out “A Message,” the sweet and caressing track 4, “Just Let Go,” with the sultry vocals of Irene B., and track 8’s very beautiful “Tears From the Sky” are definitely among my faves).

Suffice it to say that Bradley’s concept and motivation worked very well indeed. A marvelous endeavor that should prove to be universally impressive. – Ronald Jackson

PATRICK BRADLEY Under the Sun Independent

Fusion jazz keyboardist Patrick Bradley knocks the cover off UNDER THE SUN, the follow-up CD to his successful and critically acclaimed ’07 release, “Come Rain or Shine.” To my ear, this one’s even more accessible and engaging, as he’s really let out all the stops by bringing in a team of A-List players to collaborate with. Starting out with his co-writer and producer, Jeff Lorber, the roster continues impressively, with names like Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Eric Marienthal, Dwight Sills, and Dave Weckl… and that’s just for starters. The music is compelling with a capital “C,” and reflects Patrick’s positive, spiritual, life-affirming mindset. Believe me, that positivity comes across masterfully in this set of originals, from the vibrant first radio single “Straight Path” to the sweetly seductive “Just Let Go,” featuring Dave Koz on sax and IreneB on the vocal. Patrick Bradley’s UNDER THE SUN is an absolute must have! 

Under the Sun
Patrick Bradley

Under the Sun is my kind of recording…smooth as silk, filled with spirituality, positive vibes and a love of life. Pianist/organist Patrick Bradley has a keen awareness of what is important in terms of his musical messages and shares them with his audience in a creative and refreshing way. The program was produced by the great Jeff Lorber who makes a guest appearance on guitar, Rhodes, Clavinet, and Synth Bass. Patrick Bradley completes his dynamic aggregation of musicians with Rick Braun on flugelhorn/trumpet, Nate Phillips on bass, Tony Moore on drums and David Mann on horns. The 11 songs are a mix of upbeat and mid-tempo originals written or co-written by Patrick Bradley and Jeff Lorber. They exude the harmony and rhythmic finesse that are stamped with Lorber’s autographs. However the songs are clearly a great collaborative effort and reveal both artists’ internal relationship and understanding of the instrumentation’s influences on their creative capacities. “Just Let Go,” is one of the more beautiful songs on the CD with Dave Koz’s unmistakable saxophonics. Bradley’s piano comping is delicate and right on time as Irene Bauza tells his great story in a voice that is as seductive as a midnight blue sky on a starry night. Rick Braun does his thing and does it well on “Slipstream.” This up-tempo piece flows and Rick includes several instruments - muted trumpet & flugelhorn – to make it pop! “Tears from the Sky” is tender and emotional and will touch you with its deep, heartfelt riffs and melodic phrases. The great guitar solo by Michael Thompson adds another dimension to this great song. Lovin’ this. Patrick Bradley’s music features clear thinking about mixed feelings and you’ll love it. Eric Marienthal, Dave Weckl, Alex Al and a host of contemporary jazz luminaries also appear on Under the Sun. Get the Word out. Under the Sun should definitely be in your CD collection.

Patrick bradleyNow for something to really look forward to; On April 26th, jazz fusion musician Patrick Bradley will release his second CD, ‘Under the Sun’. Produced by none other than Jeff Lorber and including what are already being described as masterful performances from Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal, Rick Braun Dwight Sills, Michael Thompson, Alex Al, Nate Phillips, Tony Moore and Dave Weckl, the album is also rumored to include the horn section of David Mann and vocals from Irene B.

In fact it is Irene B who, along with Dave Koz, adds an element of seduction to the R&B infused ‘Just Let Go’ while the first single to be serviced to radio is ‘Straight Path’ which is characterized by an easy grooving lilt and a cascading piano hook.

Check back here soon for a complete review of ‘Under The Sun’. For more on Patrick Bradley go to www.patrickbradley.net

- Smooth Jazz Therapy (Mar 21, 2011)
October 2, 2009
Patrick Bradley – Come Rain or Shine
Now, as I sit here listening to this fusion-heavy offering from one Patrick Bradley, a keyboardist with obvious skill and presence, I am reminded again of how many artists fly so low under the radar that it is almost a duty to us all to bring their style and sound to the ears of Smooth Jazz America (and the world) if we hope to keep the genre alive and relevant. How is it that these guys with these fresh ideas “miss the boat” with so much to offer? This album, Come Rain or Shine, released back in 2007, was totally invisible to me until I began sniffing around in the shadows of the land of the “big and bright.” Lo and behold, up pops this product worthy of grabbing a seat and lending an ear.

Nothing terribly flashy, nothing terribly “out there,” just a certainly fitting project for those seeking a bit of variety and some new spunk in their smooth and fusion jazz. Come Rain or Shine has the markings of what you just may be seeking.


Now, Bradley is not totally an unknown, at least among artists (sax giant Eric Marienthal is featured on this project, for crying out loud!). Bradley began playing keyboards at the age of eight and has an impressive and diverse background of smooth jazz, jazz fusion, gospel, funk, rock, and classical music under his belt. It shows. He has sold internationally in 12 countries and has reached # 26 on Radio Waves top 100. His internet presence continues to grow, as well. So, this guy is not completely off the screen, but a little recognition here in Smooth Jazz America certainly wouldn’t hurt the man. He possesses good insight into what constitutes a groove that will sail.

There are tunes of note here, and what immediately struck me was the voice of one Darlene Koldenhoven who provides the vocals on a cool little ditty called “Gabby’s Groove.” Remarkable job. There’s also a cut called “Summer Sunday”” that lays out some serious fusion work with Bradley displaying that he is no novice to the intricacies of fusion...and the man can flat-out play! Add that to some really nice and innovative interpretations and renderings, like that shown on “Mending Fences,” “Peach Cobbler,” and just a whole host of other tracks here (including one hot finale), and you’ve got a consummate product.

I understand that certain jazz fusion is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this music, a mostly light and airy variety of fusion, has the potential to (ugh, here comes the cliché!) easily lighten your load and brighten your day—but I don’t mean that as some empty cliché. I was truly excited by this artist. Maybe it’s his melodies, his style, his hooks, whatever. I do believe that he has much to offer, if only “the door” will remain open, and I think listeners play a big role in that happening.

Just give Bradley a minute of your time and see if he can’t convince you to listen for perhaps a few more minutes, and then a few more, and so on… Maybe you won’t stay for the full ride; maybe you will. You can’t know until you sit back, relax, and listen.


Posted by Ronald Jackson at October 2, 2009 4:21 PM
“Instrumentals have a language of their own. About half the songs on this project are me just having fun with my axe. I sat down and played… and things just clicked.” So says, Patrick Bradley about his debut CD COME RAIN OR SHINE. Don’t misunderstand though… Patrick Bradley is no musical novice. Only eight years old when he first began playing keyboards, his background spans virtually every musical genre imaginable: Smooth Jazz, jazz, fusion, gospel, inspirational, funk, progressive rock, classical… they are all in his repertoire. He spent years touring Europe until family commitments took priority and he settled in Chicago. A successful business career with Whole Foods Market never distracted Patrick from his musical passion; he’s continued to write and play music in tandem with his work for the innovative grocery store chain. Dedicated to his wife, the recording’s opening track, “Come Rain Or Shine” celebrates the ups and downs of the relationship Patrick calls “the most valuable thing to me on the earth.” His love and devotion come through with every joyful note. Eric Marienthal’s soaring sax is like icing on an already delicious cake. With its improvisational groove, “Streetwise” has a freshness and sparkle to it that is hard to resist. Offering a touch of melancholy. “Mending Fences” has a delicate melody line that is both elegant and heartrending. One can only hope that COME RAIN OR SHINE is only the first of many musical outings Patrick Bradley has up his sleeve. ~BETH LEWIS
Beth Lewis - Smooth Jazz.com (Nov 3, 2007)