By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Oh yeah, he still plays, too. Bradford just did a festival in Northern California. As you read this, he’s off to Portugal in a band with Vinny Golia, Alex Cline and Ken Filiano. In September he’s playing Monterey with his Mo’tet.
A couple of Mondays ago, Bradford and Golia arrive at Silver Lake’s little Salvation Theater for a duo performance that echoes former years’ Bradford-Carter work both in form and, now and then, in material. It’s sold out, which means there are about 50 people poised to soak up every note.
Avant-garde it may be, but there’s a sweetness to this teaming attributable to a long-standing teacher-student vibe that persists even though Golia, in his mid-50s, is an established educator himself. Reading from charts, the two finish each other’s phrases, hit long notes and riffs together, create head-shivering harmonies, intertwine their lines tightly — Bradford on cornet, Golia on sopranino sax, B-flat clarinet and Tubax, a new variation on the huge contrabass sax. When Golia picks up his bass clarinet, he eyeballs his partner, apologizing, “I know you don’t like this instrument.” “Oh, I like it,” deadpans Bradford. “I just don’t show it.”
When the doors close, the room gets hot, but Golia is hotter, reeling off unbordered phantasmagoria through his circular-breathing technique. Bradford, by contrast, is uncomfortable in the vest he’s worn over his long-sleeve shirt, and his playing is often blurry around the edges. The humidity causes extra condensation, which the musicians frequently have to dump from their horns; by intermission, they’re both standing in pools of water.
Bradford finds his pace after the break, diving into a soft, flowing zone that drips with feeling, and Golia rolls on undiminished through Bradford’s “Side Steps.” The audience wants more, but the two beg off; they’re sweating like plow horses.
Host Jeremy Drake takes the stage and plugs the CDs available in the lobby. Among those are two new ones by Bradford. One was recorded last year on the patio of the L.A. County Museum of Art with a spectacular seven-member Mo’tet featuring Don Preston, Roberto Miranda and Chuck Manning; though the recording quality is only somewhat better than you’d expect from an open-air gig on cement, it’s a valuable document of a varied, swinging modern set with numerous brilliant solos. Another is a more austere, very adventurous trio disc with saxist Francis Wong and tuba player William Roper. (You can buy both at a few local stores or by e-mailing email@example.com.)
“Come and get ’em,” urges Drake. “They’re going fast.”
Golia, breaking down his horns, snickers loudly. “They’re going fast” is quite a relative statement. And in the twilight of the deep-rooted jazzmen, it has more than one meaning.