Will Bradley

Will Bradley

Wilbur Schwichtenberg (July 12, 1912July 15, 1989) was an American trombonist and bandleader who performed under the name Will Bradley. He was known for swing and sweet dance music, as well as boogie woogie songs, many of which were written by Don Raye.

Born in Newton, New Jersey, he and drummer Ray McKinley formed a big band in 1939 which became well known for boogie-woogie, particularly its hit record, "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," with Freddie Slack on piano. [via Associated Press. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE4DF103FF93AA25754C0A96F948260 "Will Bradley, 78, Dies; Wrote Boogie-Woogie"] , "The New York Times", July 19, 1989. Accessed November 27, 2007.] This record, along with another big-band boogie woogie number, "Scrub Me Mamma With A Boogie Beat," and the original version of the classic, "Down the Road a Piece," were all three in the top 10 on the Billboard popular music charts at the same time, in late-1940. Down the Road a Piece was recorded with a pared-down trio called the "Will Bradley Trio," made up of McKinley, Doc Goldberg, and Freddie Slack, with guest vocals by songwriter Don Raye, and would become a rock and roll standard recorded by over 100 artists.

In 1942 McKinley left to form his own band and a few months after joined the United States Air Force, where he played in the Glenn Miller Air Force band. Bradley tried to maintain the band, but problems caused by the war forced it to close. Bradley became a studio musician, and played for many years in the "Tonight Show" band during the Johnny Carson era.


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