Philly trombonist Jeff Bradshaw talks about orchestrating Home, an all-star live album recording at the Kimmel on Wednesday

Jeff Bradshaw | photo courtesy of the artist
Jeff Bradshaw | photo courtesy of the artist

When I called him last week, Jeff Bradshaw was taking a rare moment’s rest, sitting on the sidewalk outside of his favorite cigar shop in Chestnut Hill. It was a momentary respite at best between corralling, at his count, a 19-piece band, 14 guest artists, 18 flights, and 24 hotel rooms to make his dream project happen: a live recording Wednesday night at the Kimmel Center which will become the trombonist’s third album, Home.

“To do something amazing takes that kind of preparation and work,” Bradshaw says. “It’s a lot of moving parts.”

Those parts will come together on Wednesday, Bradshaw promises, to conjure a number of what he calls “Oh no he didn’t moments.” He’s ensuring those moments happen by augmenting his usual horn-heavy ensemble with a ten-piece string section bringing together members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other chamber ensembles from the city, and by assembling an array of all-star guests that includes R&B/smooth jazz singer-songwriter Will Downing; a cappella gospel sextet Take 6; Grammy-winning keyboardist Robert Glasper; New Orleans rising star Trombone Shorty; ex-Floetry singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius; gospel singer Kim Burrell; and smooth jazz saxophonist Najee, among others.

“It’s going to be a once in a lifetime event,” Bradshaw says. “The top ticket price is $100, and there’s no way you can see all of these artists on one stage in one night and pay 100 dollars. At the high end that’s still a great value.”

After releasing two studio albums – his 2003 debut Bone Deep and the 2012 follow-up Bone Appetit – Bradshaw calls Home his “coming out of sorts.” Bradshaw is a gifted instrumentalist and born showman who combines influences from gospel, soul, and jazz and has toured the world with superstar acts including Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Kirk Franklin, John Legend, The Roots and Earth Wind and Fire. But he’s less known outside of his hometown as a bandleader, so wants to capture his sound at its best: in the live setting. Continue reading →