Bradley Leighton
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Bradley Leighton

San Diego, California, United States | INDIE

San Diego, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Funk

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"The Smooth Jazz Site"

I would describe his album, Groove Yard, as Straight-ahead jazz for the Smooth and Contemporary jazz set. His selections definately have the unmistakable energy and improvisation that marks it as Straight-ahead but is so warm and inviting that it would be appropriate to have it playing while you're romanticising that special someone in your life. The title track has the funky bass grooves that make jazz what it is while his rendition of Wes Montgomery's "Road Song" is an upbeat, finger-snapping tribute to one of the greatest jazz musicians of our times. Bradley gets Latin on us with the smooth lines of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Fotografia" and also the first cut, "Mojave," featuring the great guitar licks of Jaime Valle. If this album doesn't give you enough of Bradley Leighton then you can check him out on other releases such us Seattle Groove and Funky Brothers. You can find out more on Bradley Leighton and his music by visiting his website at www.bradleyleighton.com or e-mail him at info@bradleyleighton.com - Derek Winterberg


"Jazznow.com"

A beautifully played opening track by Bradley Leighton and his rhythm section with Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Mojave"; it features both the flute and alto flute of Leighton and some engaging piano from Mike Wofford. The title track, "Groove Yard" by Carl Perkins is a firm, feel-good swinger to Leighton's full, melodic flute; the rhythm section always keep themselves constructively busy, a good stretching solo from Jamie Valle on guitar and some trading of fours with Leighton. Another Jobim track, "Fotografia" ambles fondly and gently with immense warmth, a caressing bass solo from Bob Magnusson and the deeply felt flute of Leighton. "Dona Maria" is more of a romp with some up tempo playing, Leighton buzzes and zips through this to good effect. The set finishes in some style with Wes Montgomery's "Road Song". This is a CD of lovingly crafted, laid back open, airy, straight-ahead Jazz played by fine musicians; a CD deserving a place in your home.

- Ferdinand Maylin


"Wow! Alto flute and B3 Jazz!"

Wow - alto flute and B3 jazz - this I gotta love! Reminds me of the Ryerson/Beck alto flute and guitar duo on a couple DMP SACDs, but with the added shakin’ bass end of the B3 organ and the variety of percussion effects possible between the drums and percussionist. Sounds sorta like a swinging Ivy League Caucasian flutist is sitting in with a down n’ dirty B3 trio at a black blues club - let’s hear it for diversity! Leighton’s rich warm tone is quite a contrast to the usual raucous sax you would normally hear if the trio expanded to a quartet. And while I dig a little of that I’m nuts for a lot of this! Four originals spice up the dozen tracks - three of them from Leighton himself. Two of the tracks, including the opening B3 standard Sunny, delve into a Latin groove and the producer’s own Deep Sea is a lovely bossa nova. If this is an example of what comes out of this small San Diego-area jazz label, I want to hear more right away. - Audiophile Audition


"You can hear th' soul shining through!"

The word that comes to mind only 4 bars in to "Sonny" is "subtle".... which, if you look it up in th' Thesarus, shows words like "delicate" & "fine". That's kinda' how I hear Bradley's flute here... as well as th' Hammond by Rob Whitlock, & th' guitar by Bob Boss, as well as the percz from Allan Phillips & (even) drums from Duncan Moore. The players are so dedicated to making a pleasant experience for th' listener that their solos come across as laid-back & easy. That's not to say th' energy is (in any way) low-end, 'coz this is some of th' finest jazz you'll hear today. My favorite cut on th' album was a Leighton original called "Carefree" (track 6). There is a feeling of "gentle" in the overall spirit of the tune that tracks totally with the title of the album, & will let you relax no matter how much tension you've brought home with you. The arrangements on "Deep Sea, by percussionist Allan Phillips, evoke images of sandy Caribbean beaches & lazy afternoons in th' sun. My favorite track (of all) on the CD, though, is another original by Bradley, "Easy Morning". The combination of subdued & laid-back B3 with Leighton's joyful expressions on his flute won't soon escape your ears, & will come back (days later) to recharge your mind. I suspect that if the B3 weren't there, this might be put in the "smooth jazz" bins (thus relegating it to NEVER-land for listeners like me), but it can NOT be placed in that (dreaded) pigeonhole, 'coz you can hear th' soul shining through! Some GREAT tunes & very tasty listening for years to come... this one is a KEEPER, without doubt. It gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us for dedicated jazz fans everywhere. - Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation


"Unusual instrumentation"

Unusual instrumentation sets this CD apart. Leader Bradley Leighton plays alto flute in front of Hammond B3 player Rob Whitlock, bassist Bob Boss and drummer Duncan Moore, with percussionist Allan Phillips added on most tracks. Although rooted in bop, Bradley pays heed to the fluid grace of Latin music and offers an individualistic take on several standards and contemporary populat songs. His own compositions, of which there are three hereon, display considerable talent. Attractive music, played with skill and ingenuity. - SwingToBop.com, Bruce Crowther


"Smooth Jazz Meets Old School Funk"

Last year I recommended flutist Bradley Leighton’s JUST DOIN’ OUR THANG as a superb example of “Smooth Jazz meets Cool Jazz.” Now I’m excited to tell you about his newest release, BACK TO THE FUNK, where “Smooth Jazz meets Old School Funk.” Every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor, it has even more tunes for Smooth Jazz radio. I’ve been a fan of jazz flute for many years (thanks to Herbie Mann), so this new album is especially satisfying to me. I love Bradley’s playing, and I love the way percussionist/keyboardist Allan Phillips has produced it, with lively, lyrical music and superb production values. From the eight tasty originals penned by Phillips and Leighton (“Runaway,” “Sunday in San Diego” and “Ready for You” are total standouts) to the three covers…Ray, Goodman, & Brown’s “Special Lady,” David Gates’ “Make It with You,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Love Light in Flight.” The album’s a knockout, and should do extremely well for the talented artist. This Seattle native, in San Diego since 2001, once again shows us why jazz flute is one of the most sensual instruments around. For this project, he adds horns, and Fattburger’s Evan Marks on guitar. Just like JUST DOIN’ OUR THANG, Bradley Leighton’s BACK TO THE FUNK is loaded with inventive, inspired playing, is going to be spending a lot of time in my player this year, and my recommendation’s the same as last year… Get a copy for yourself! - SmoothJazz.com


"Leighton’s funk is funk-lite"

Bradley Leighton is in on the joke. Sporting Coke-bottle shades, white hat, a beefy fur coat and bling dangling from his neck and weighing down his fingers, the flutist pimps with the best of the 1970s funk masters on the cover of his latest smooth-groove project. Turn the CD over, though, and you’ll see Leighton stripped of his gaudy accouterments. Hey, he’s saying, I’m just a flute guy playing around with some funk that’s inspired me.
Unlike his previous CD, on which he covered some of his favorite tunes from the past, on “Back to the Funk,” Leighton offers eight originals he composed with producer and keys man Allan Phillips. But don’t expect the foot-stompin’, nasty funk of Sly Stone or the slap-happy bass funk of Bootsy Collins. Leighton’s funk is funk-lite as popularized by Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind & Fire. Influenced by jazz flutists such as Bobbi Humphrey and the late Herbie Mann, Leighton instead lays down light grooves that are just fine for easy listening.
“Runaway” and “Clear Blue Skies” pump up the energy, but more in tone with the CD’s mood are mellifluous tunes like “Flow,” “Back to the Funk” and the best track here, “Flow.” Although covers of “Special Lady” and “Make It With You” veer into mall-music territory, Leighton closes with Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s Light in Flight” and finally kicks it up a notch with some satisfying soloing. ~Brian Soergel, JazzTimes
- JazzTimes


"Funky Music, you'll want to pick up"

Back to the Funk is an intentional throwback to early ‘70s funky jazz, the type of music performed by flutist Herbie Mann and a little later by saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. The R&B-ish grooves are catchy if predictable and the backup band is solid, with flutist Bradley Leighton in the lead nearly all of the time. Nothing unusual happens, but Leighton plays well over the vamps, sounding enthusiastic and reasonably creative within the genre. While eight of the 11 selections are recent originals, this could very easily be an album from 1972. Fans of that era’s funky music will want to pick this one up.
- All Music Guide


"Musical Virtuosity"

Better are his hot encounters with straight-ahead jazz, where he exhibits the musical virtuosity that has carried his career around the world with a die-hard jazzman’s torch. He takes to spontaneous improvisation as a bird takes to flying. The flutist performs weekly in La Jolla and more often at various jazz clubs in the San Diego area. ~Jim Santella, L A Jazz Scene

- LA Jazz Scene


"Pink Panther"

"In Bradley Leighton's gifted hands, the panther is anything but pink. The jazz flutist's latest CD, Just Doin' Our Thang, includes a variation of the theme from the Pink Panther like you won't believe." - CITYBEAT April 20, 2005 - San Diego City Beat


Discography

Soul Collective - April 2008
Back to the Funk - January, 2006
Just Doin' Our Thang - 2005
Groove Yard - 2003
Back to the Funk was on the smoothjazz.com chart for four months in 2006, going to #34. Both "Back to the Funk" and "Just Doin' Our Thang" were nominated by the San Diego Music Academy for Best Jazz Album of the Year in 2006 and 2005, respectively.

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Bio

Bradley Leighton brings a unique and powerful sound to flute. His style of swing evolved from listening to the big, hi-octane bands of Kenton, Herman and Ferguson in the 60's-70's. His funkiness derives from years of listening to Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Brecker Brothers and countless other soul/R&B acts. He brings a fire and flair not usually heard nor expected from a flutist. Bradley has performed across the US and Asia, as both sideman and bandleader, for over 25 years. His most recent gigs include headlining the Gainesville Jazz Festival and opening for Gerald Albright in Hartford, CT.