“I’m an incurable romantic, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s an easy condition to live with.” Bradley Young says with a smile.
“And the only thing that makes me feel better is when I’m playing jazz standards.”
And play he does – since the age of five.
Starting private study then on piano, he was a Northwestern University student at age five, an Evanston Conservatory of Music student by 12, and a Berklee College of Music grad and Chet Baker accompanist by his early twenties.
And all along the way, he devoured and mastered a host of musical styles. Classical, blues, soul, funk, boogie woogie, hip hop and jazz. Seen in action, Bradley’s abilities and musical vocabulary can be breathtaking, resulting in phrasings that are his alone.
A real renaissance man, Bradley has earned his stripes as a soloist, combo and band leader, and motion picture soundtrack scorer.
Plus he’s performed as pianist and music director for major special events, feting such luminaries as Clint Eastwood, Sigourney Weaver, Sharon Stone, Brooke Shields, Gary Shandling, and Teri Hatcher.
But no matter what, it’s jazz – deeply romantic jazz that moves him most – now primarily as a soloist or as the leader of a small combo.
Bradley’s goal: “When I finish a song, my aim is to leave the audience feeling either warm and romantic or like champagne that’s gone straight to their head on their very first date.”
Currently based in Los Angeles and Chicago, Bradley can be seen setting the mood at many of Chi-Town’s best jazz clubs like Andy’s, Pop’s for Champagne, and The Green Mill. In L.A., his favorite romantic jazz club nightspots include the Catalina Bar and Grill and The Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach.
For The Record
No matter how much talk there is about Bradley playing, it’s the hearing that makes believing. And it’s easy to convert listeners into believers with a single sampling of Bradleys’s Midnight Rhapsody CD. Lend it an ear here or on myspace at www.myspace.com/bbopman. Or pick up a copy at cdbaby.com or Bradley’s own website – www.bradleyyoung.com.
Bradley’s talent also shines brilliantly on Enja Records’ recently pressed Chet In Chicago, a previously unreleased studio session featuring jazz trumpet legend Chet Baker, with Bradley on piano. Recorded in 1986, the CD also features Larry Gray on bass and Rusty Jones on drums. For more information about this newly discovered gem, log onto www.enjarecords.com, and enter Chet Baker in the search window. Romantic jazz in the coolest of tones.
Mentors and Influences
A Chicago native, Bradley’s eclectic, intimate style draws from the entire history of jazz piano. Bradley’s first inspiration was stride and boogie woogie – he spent years listening to recordings and practicing to master the sounds of past masters like James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith and Meade “Lux” Lewis.
Becoming fluent in all their styles, Bradley has also essayed the bop stylings of key front men like Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock. Plus he has polished his talents by absorbing the funky grooves of contemporary jazz masters Alex Bugnon, Brian Culbertson and Joe McBride.
Playing his first professional gigs at Chicago hotspots, Bradley hooked up with local blues legends Freddie Below, Big Time Sarah, and famed blues pianist and recording star Erwin Helfer.
Once established in L.A. in 1993, Bradley started studying with Alan Pasqua, Mike Garson and Terry Trotter, then graduated on to play and record with jazz greats Buddy Childers, Sal Marquez, Steve Cole, Tony Dumas, Luther Hughes, Dave Carpenter, Peter Erskine and Jeff “Tain” Watts.
A Final Note
Musical education and dues-paying experience go a long, long way. But there’s no substitute for talent. Together, all of these qualities play off one another and come together– unifying in an amazingly unique sound that’s Bradley’s alone. So take a listen. And discover why Bradley’s rightly earned his moniker . . . The Young Romantic.