Perry Bradford

Perry Bradford

Perry Bradford (14 February 1893, Montgomery, Alabama - 20 April 1970, New York City) was an African American composer, songwriter, and vaudeville performer.

Perry Bradford grew up in Atlanta where his family moved when he was six, and in 1906 started working with minstrel shows. He played in Chicago as a solo pianist as early as 1909 and visited New York City the following year.

As a pianist, singer, dancer and composer, Bradford worked in theatre circuits throughout the South and into the North for the next decade (1908 - 1919) in a song and dance act billed as "Bradford and Jeanette"., [Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance By Marshall Winslow Stearns, Jean Stearns, Contributor Brenda Bufalino (1994) Da Capo Press page 111ISBN 0306805537] After settling in New York, he became Mamie Smith's musical director, and Smith starred in Bradford's show "Made in Harlem" (1918). Bradford was also responsible for Smith being the first African American blues singer to appear on record (singing his "Crazy Blues") in 1920.

Bradford toured and recorded with Smith, worked with Alberta Hunter and also headed seven recording sessions of his own during 1923-27. Among Bradford's sidemen were Johnny Dunn, Bubber Miley, Garvin Bushell, Louis Armstrong (on two numbers in 1925), Buster Bailey, and James P. Johnson.

With the rise of the Great Depression, Bradford slipped away into obscurity. In later years, he appeared to exaggerate his role in early blues, possibly a reaction to his being nearly forgotten. In 1957, Little Richard had a hit with Bradford's "Keep A-Knockin'". In 1965, Bradford's autobiography "Born With the Blues" was published (New York: Oak Publications) with a foreword by Noble Sissle. His best-known songs were "Crazy Blues", "That Thing Called Love", and "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down".

External links

* [ Perry Bradford at Red Hot Jazz]


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