Trombonist Jeff Bradshaw, who has worked with Patti LaBelle, Kindred The Family Soul, or Jill Scott, and who released the wittily entitled “Bone Appetit” a couple of years ago to great acclaim (the album featured Maysa, Raheem DeVaughn, and Marsha Ambrosius), has assembled an all-star cast for one special night at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia with a 20 piece orchestra.
It is a tasty blend of Soul, R&B, Gospel, and Jazz and has the great Robert Glasper/Eric Roberson composition “All Time Love” as one of the first highlights here with Eric’s soulful vocals, Robert on piano (who also executive produced the album), Tweet as guest vocalist and Jeff with a smoldering solo. There is the dexterously executed “I Do Sincerely” which features the amazing Marsha Ambrosius and comes across with an unbeatable groove and Jeff’s trombone adding some extra spice here. Gospel singer Kim Burrell from Houston graces the 9-minute plus “Love”, a sweaty and gritty affair.
Trombone Shorty joins Jeff on the trombone chair on the funky “N.O.Groove”, a sort of southern heat combined with a DC Go-Go beat. Very catchy. I’m not particularly fond of the rap vocals of Black Thought on “Break You Off”, but am more than rewarded by a fantastic version of the DeBarge classic “All This Love” with vocals here by the unbreakable Take 6, with Jeff taking over the lead on trombone.
But there is more to come: Bilal croons his way through a sweet “Where Do We Go From Here” which features real strings (!) and Will Downing with his impeccable baritone fronts an equally soulful “My Forever” which has Trina Broussard, among others, on background vocals. Wish I had been there at the concert! The track builds into an elegant show-stopper during its six and a half minutes. Take 6 are back on a moving “Beyond The Stars” which really not only showcases Jeff’s trombone chops, but also his big talent as a composer. The track could have been right out of the Stevie Wonder book from the 70s.
I have always admired the sensuous vocals of Kenny Lattimore and he is featured here as well: on the self-written “What Must I Do” from his “Anatomy Of A Love Song” album he once again proves to me that he has to be rated among the best vocalists around today. Saxophonist Najee (who was in London last night) guests on the beautiful Grover Washington, Jr. tribute “For Grover” (also written by Jeff), including some more of those sweet sugary strings and a fitting hook.
The album climaxes with the War staple “The World Is A Ghetto” with Najee again, this time on flute, some really cool work by musical director Thaddeus Tribbett, sexy keys and a dramatic choir. The Glasper/Roberson cut “All Time Love” is featured on the album in a studio version as well. And that is what Jeff should do next: bringing his exceptional talents into a recording studio again and asking his friends to drop by.