Tribute To Clive Bradley

by Frankie McIntosh - WST Special

Clive Bradley

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Renowned musician Frankie McIntosh speaks on Clive Bradley

Clive Bradley
Clive Bradley

New York - My first meeting with Clive Bradley was at Platinum Factory recording studio (Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY) in the early 1980s. He was working there as arranger on a Lord Nelson project for producer Rawlston Charles. As Clive reviewed the arrangements at the piano, it didn't take a sleuth to detect that the man had 'chops'.*

In subsequent years we occasionally exchanged opinions on the state of Calypso. Clive was fairly accurate at predicting whether a newly released song would be a hit, as with Swallow's Pepper Sauce and Explainer's Lorraine. "They want to wine" he often remarked with reference to the Soca audience.

Several fans, including this writer, believe that Clive Bradley's success as an arranger for steel orchestra has (unfortunately) eclipsed his arranging work for conventional Calypso band. The ability to wear both hats well, and at once, was evidenced in 1970 when his arrangements of Margie won Road March for Lord Kitchener and first place panorama prize for Desperados. In 1976, a Bradley/Kitchener collaboration again bore Road March fruit in Flag Woman.**

Since receiving the sad news of his passing, I have listened to a great deal of Bradley's recorded work and concluded: "Clive Bradley lives."

Footnotes:

* I learned later that Bradley was one of Trinidad's leading pianists during the 1960s, with a style markedly influenced by Jazz. This background, I believe, was brought to bear on his pan oeuvre, notably in the areas of harmony, form, and strong ensemble passages which could only be conceived by a jazz improviser. Perhaps, for this reason, I hear his musical expression as a vibrant present rooted in a golden past --- a past which includes Bertram Innis, Vasso Defreitas, Otmar Devlught and others. Expression which evinces a spirit of daring.........daring to introduce novel ideas and fresh techniques to audiences, rather than simply re-present the familiar.

** Acknowledgement is due Mr. Les Slater for references to Bradley's 1970 and 1976 achievements. Les is a brilliant panist and arranger in his own right, one whose musicianship and moral probity I hold in high regard.

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