Geof Bradfield was born in Houston, TX, where he attended the renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He lived in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington before settling in Chicago in 2004. Along the way, he has been fortunate to work alongside many jazz luminaries and to perform throughout the United States and Europe. He has also toured Russia, Africa and the Middle East with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad. Bradfield is featured on numerous recordings, including his own critically acclaimed CDs African Flowers, named one of the top 10 CDs of 2010 by the Los Angeles Times, and Melba!, selected as one of the best CDs of 2013 by DownBeat Magazine. As a composer, Bradfield has received commissions from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and grants and fellowships from DCASE, the Illinois Arts Council, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Bradfield is also a committed educator; he is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University.
Bradfield’s newest project, Our Roots, takes its name and inspiration from Chicago saxophonist Clifford Jordan’s 1965 Atlantic record, These Are My Roots: the Music of Lead Belly. The focus is on Black music of the rural south: the spirituals and blues of itinerant Texas preacher Blind Willie Johnson, ring shouts from the Georgia Sea Islands, and the prison farm work songs of Lead Belly. Bradfield is joined in Our Roots by four of the premier jazz musicians on the contemporary Chicago scene: trumpeter Marquis Hill, trombonist Joel Adams, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall. Look for the group’s first record early next year as well as performances this fall at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and in Poznan, Poland for the Made in Chicago/Estrada Poznanska Festival.