Bobby Lee Bradford (born July 19, 1934 in Cleveland, Mississippi) is an American jazz trumpeter, cornetist, bandleader, and composer. He is noted for his work with Ornette Coleman. In October 2009 Bradford became the second recipient of the Festival of New Trumpet Music's Award of Recognition.[1]



Bradford grew up in Mississippi and moved with his family to Dallas, Texas in 1946. He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1953 where he reunited with Ornette Coleman, whom he had previously known in Texas.[1] Bradford subsequently joined Coleman's ensemble but was replaced not long after by Don Cherry when he drafted into the U.S. Air Force.

After playing in military bands for three or four years, September 1954 to October 1958[2], he later rejoined Coleman's quartet from 1961 to 1963, a period during which the group did not record and performed publicly infrequently. Bradford was again replaced, this time by Freddie Hubbard, when he left to pursue further studies.[2] Later, Bradford began a long running association with the clarinetist John Carter, a pairing that brought both increased exposure. Following Carter's death in 1991, Bradford fronted his own ensemble known as The Mo'tet, with which he has continued to perform since.

He holds a B.M. degree from Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in Austin, Texas.[3]

In addition to Coleman, Bradford has also performed with Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, Vinny Golia and David Murray, who was previously a student of his in the 1970s.

He is an instructor at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California,[4] and Pomona College in Claremont, California.[5]



  • Isoardi, Steven L. (2006). The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles. George Gund Foundation Book in African American Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24591-1
  • Litweiler, John (1990). The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80377-1
  • Dailey, Raleigh. Folklore, Composition, and Free Jazz: The Life and Music of John Carter. Ph.D. dissertation; University of Kentucky, 2007.


External linksEdit

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