Smooth jazz artists tend to fall into one of four categories: saxophonists, keyboardists, guitarists, and “other.” Trumpeter Cindy Bradley fits into that last category. Although there have been some great trumpeters in the early days of smooth jazz (Herb Alpert and Chuck Mangione, for example), there haven’t been many since.
Cindy, who played piano as a child, took up the trumpet when she was nine, because it was the only instrument she recognized in her band teacher’s list of appropriate instruments. She went on to earn degrees in jazz studies from Ithaca University and jazz trumpet performance from the New England Conservatory. She self-produced her first album, 2007’s Just a Little Bit, before signing with Trippin’ ‘n’ Rhythm Records in 2009. Her album from that year, Bloom, earned her the 2009 Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival Debut Artist of the Year, the American Smooth Jazz Awards Best New Artist, and the Smooth Jazz News Debut Artist of the Year awards.
“Massive Transit” is from her 2011 album Unscripted. As the first single, it reached #1 on the Smooth Jazz Songs chart and remained there for six weeks. The album topped the Jazz Albums chart for two weeks.
“Category A,” from her 2017 album Natural, is her seventh single to reach #1. It features Chris Standring on guitar.
Cindy’s considered a smooth jazz artist, despite the fact that her music is hard to characterize as such. Her influences include Freddie Hubbard and Blue Mitchell, not exactly smooth jazz artists. When not touring or playing at jazz festivals, she’s a band teacher at a public elementary school in New Jersey. Her website tells us she’ll be at The Attucks Theater in Norfolk, Virginia on March 9 and at the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio on April 6.
Cindy Bradley, your Two For Tuesday, February 26, 2019.