Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2010: Allan Harris

Julian Bradford

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Julian Bradford is one of the busiest bass players in the city, and he plays comfortably in many styles. He tells me he grew up listening to lots of classical, and starting messing with his parents’ stereo and a couple of tape decks when he was in his teens. He’s never been one to settle, musically or otherwise. I caught up with him between gigs this summer.

You’ve had a busy summer!

Yeah, this summer has been a lot of fun. I performed at the Jazz Festival with Moses Mayes, Iskwe Emme, Flo, and a few others at Old Market Cube. Opened for one of my all time favorite groups, The Roots, with Magnum K.I. Great club shows with Jeff Presslaff and Walle Larson, Heitha Forsyth, Adam Young. I did a gig with guitarist Keith Price at the Montreal Jazz Festival too. I also just recently got the opportunity to track some bass for Kenny G’s latest record Heart and Soul—pick that up! And just did a gig with Chantal Kreviazuk. So it’s been an exciting month so far.

You play both stand-up and electric. Apart from the physical stuff, how are those two different?

I often find it hard to put down the upright because the sound is so full and warm and organic, but you can’t play the funk on it like you can with the electric! Stylistically, some music feels better on one or the other. Pop music generally calls for the long sustain and clear tone that the electric provides, whereas the feel of jazz or bluegrass can benefit from the faster decay and round attack of the notes on the upright.

What bassists really inspire you?

Mingus for being bad-ass. I love Ray Brown. For pop stuff, I love crazy bass players like Ethan Farmer and Adam Blackstone and Pino Paladino of course. I just watched an Alison Krauss DVD today with Abe Laboriel playing bass. He played so tastefully and sparingly you barely knew he was there. This guy could tear it up if he wanted! I really love bass players that have good taste and feel—bassists who nail that are inspiring to me.

What’s right ahead for you?

Cello!! My father started me on the cello when I was really young (thank you), but I gave it up. I’ve recently rediscovered it and haven’t been able to put it down. I’m very excited to be playing bass and cello with a very talented up-and-coming artist, Bean—watch out for her! Also, the cello will be coming out on a few dates with singer/songwriter/fiddler extraordinaire Sierra Noble very soon!

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