Revive Interview: Jeff Bradshaw Reveals His Musical Origins, Details Work w/ Robert Glasper, Michael Jackson + More
Jeff Bradshaw made us keen to his silky soul stuff early last month when we had the pleasure of premiering his lovely pseudo-posse cut “All Time Love,” featuring Robert Glasper, Tweet & Eric Roberson. But late week, the trombonist with the mostest sat with the homies at Revive and went all-in on his come-up, working with everyone from the aforementioned greats to legends like Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Erykah Badu and much too many more to for these few hundred words. Bradshaw also spoke to the nature of being a self-taught musician, the advantages and drawbacks, his forthcoming Glasper-produced record and a whole lot more. Below you’ll find a few compelling clips from the chat, but you’ll have to hit the link for the full script.
How the church influenced his playing and ear:
“I was born and raised in a church called the United House of Prayer for All People where gospel brass bands are the main focus in the music ministry. So, my dad played trombone and I was surrounded by trombone players. These bands were compiled of bands from 8-20 pieces, but the main instrument in the band was trombone: trombones, baritone horns, maybe one trumpet, maybe one sax and a sousaphone and drums. I was surrounded by trombones my whole life in church growing up. Just hearing gospel music and old Negro spirituals being played by trombone bands, it was almost like growing up in New Orleans.”
How he and Glasper met and began to work with one another:
“Robert Glasper has been a friend of mind for, I will say, about 10 years, maybe more. I met him when he was playing for Bilal. He’s just a good friend. There are artists on this record– some are new friends, some are friends of mine that I’ve had for years. Sitting, talking to Rob about what he did, and just did again with Black Radio and Black Radio 2, how he has now won a second Grammy for the second Black Radio album. The concept is not strange to me, because my albums have been that way. My albums have had Jill Scott and Floetry. A very hot Jill Scott in 2003. A very hot Floetry in 2003. A very hot Glen Lewis in 2003. I’ve had great artists on my records. Darius Rucker in 2003. It’s not like I haven’t done these collab records, these Jazz-hybrid albums we’ll call them. I think it’s all about timing. Where music is and when people are receptive. When the industry is receptive and people are listening again.”
Working on Michael Jackson’s “Butterflies”:
“With Michael Jackson, I recorded a song you might remember, “Butterflies,” from Michael’s last record when he was living. I did the horn parts on “Butterflies.” I was working with Andre Harris, who produced the song, and Marsha Ambrosius, who wrote the song and they were getting ready to go back to New York. They were doing some tweaking on the song. Michael hadn’t sang on it yet. Obviously, Marsha had sang on the song with Michael, they sang the backgrounds together on the song. So, they let me hear it before they took it up to New York the following day. I was playing horn arrangements on something else and he said, “I’ll let you hear this record that Marsha and I did for Michael. It could possibly be a single.” I was like, “Cool, let me hear it.” He said, “We’re taking it back to him tomorrow. He’s already heard it. He loves it. We did some tweaking to it, we brought it back here.” When they let me hear the song, I hummed the horn line (sings the horn line), and they were like, “Oh no, we gotta go back in the studio right now. We gotta put that on there.”