Carmen Bradford

Carmen Bradford 2017-11-30T21:22:51+00:00



“When you tour as much as I do, singing night after night, you need a microphone that will allow you not to push your voice so hard. The SR40V…it does all of the work!”

Born in Austin, Texas and raised in Altadena, California, Carmen Bradford grew up with music in her home and in her heart. It was only natural that Carmen would follow in the footsteps of her great family legacy being the daughter of legendary trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and world-renowned jazz vocalist/author Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band, in the 1940’s and sang with the Ink Spots making Carmen the third generation of incredible musicians. She has carved out a place in music history for herself and is playing an integral role in this uniquely American art form called jazz.

Carmen was discovered and hired by William “Count” Basie and was the featured vocalist in the legendary Count Basie Orchestra for nine years. She has since performed and/or recorded with: Wynton Marsalis, Shelly Berg, John Clayton along with the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennet, James Brown, Patti Austin, Byron Stripling, Dori Caymmi, George Benson, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the National Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, The Dani Felber Big Band, Dallas Symphony, Oklahoma Symphony, Vancouver Philharmonic, and countless artists around the world. Carmen performed on two Grammy award winning albums with the Basie Band in the 1980’s and later collaborated on a third Grammy Award winning album, “Big Boss Band,” with guitarist George Benson in 1991. Her soulful voice warmed the hearts of Americans through the celebrated performance of the classic duet, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” on the TONIGHT SHOW with the Johnny Carson Show that same year.

Carmen began another chapter in her illustrious career as a solo artist with her critically acclaimed debut album “Finally Yours” (Evidence Records) in 1992. The 1995 release of her second solo album, “With Respect,” (Evidence Records) called the established the Atlanta-based singer as one of jazz music’s most diverse and exciting vocal stylists proving to the world that Carmen Bradford was a unique voice in jazz in her own right.

Carmen teamed with singer/composer Kenny Rankin for the Benny Carter Songbook Project making history once again. As Carmen looked around the room she exclaimed “What an honor!” upon seeing many faces of music history involved in the making of this special album. Some notable attendees were Joe Williams, Ruth Brown, Bobby Short, Peggy Lee, Shirley Horn, Jon Hendricks, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, among others. Carmen was chosen to sing “Key Largo” for this Grammy award-winning album. Her performance on “The Benny Carter Songbook” marked Carmen’s fourth studio collaboration reaffirming her stardom.

On occasion, Carmen has loaned her talented voice to stage productions and the music of Hollywood films, cartoons, television commercials, and the theatre. She sang on the haunting soundtrack for Oprah Winfrey’s “Beloved,” and starred in the title role of Duke Ellington’s Folk Opera “Queenie Pie” at the University of Texas, Butler School of Music.

Carmen’s 2004 release, “Home With You,” (Azica Records) is a warm and beautiful collection of piano/vocal duets with talented artist Shelly Berg. The album is yet another departure for Carmen, offering her fans a stripped down, intimate portrait of the artist they have grown to love. Carmen Bradford returned to her big band roots with her new release, “Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra,” featured on Live from Jazz At Lincoln Centers’ Dizzy’s Club.

At present, Carmen’s 2015 release, titled, John Mills “Invisible Design” Featuring Carmen Bradford is another example of Carmen Bradford’s ability to sing all forms of jazz be it straight ahead jazz, blues or jazz fusion, and swing it like nobody can. “Carmen Bradford is doing it all whether it is a duo concert with Shelly Berg, Big Band with the ladies of DIVA, a Christmas album with The Count Basie Orchestra and Johnny Mathis, or her new favorite performing with Symphony Orchestras around the world. Carmen Bradford’s body of work reflects a vast depth of musical experience and technical brilliance. She is also recognized for the overwhelming passion she brings to the lyric. She has truly contributed to the perpetuation and preservation of this Great American art form called jazz, and continues to do so.

Currently Using


Q&A with Carmen

Q: How long have you been using Earthworks products?

A: I’ve been using the Earthworks microphone SR40V, from the moment it arrived in the mail…has that been two years? I still love it so much!

Q: What Earthworks products are you using?


Q: What is your favorite thing about Earthworks products and their performance?

A: I am obsessed with the SR40V! Haven’t needed anything else!

Q: How has the SR40V helped your sound?

A: You know, this year, I think I’ve worked almost 40 weeks, touring the world…sometimes my voice is tired, and when I tell you, the ease of knowing, no matter how soft I’m going to sing, the sound is right there! Beautiful clarity…I don’t have to have it right in my face either. Just smooth

Q: Best tip for using Earthworks?

A: As I said, no pushing…no eating the microphone…my tone…long tones which I love to do, with vibrato on the end…the sound is so consistent and makes it feel effortless on my part.

Q: Career highlights?

A: Almost every show I’ve done in this year of 2017 was a tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald! Most of my concerts this year were in tribute to her, with the Rochester Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Florida Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Evansville Symphony, Detroit Symphony, I recorded a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on the new Count Basie Orchestra’s album, on Concord Records, performing her “Honey Suckle Rose” arrangement by the great Benny Carter. I just performed at the Jazz Association of Singapore’s Gala in Singapore, performing for the Prime Minister and Secretary of State. The Jen Conference (Jazz Educators Network Conference) with the U.S. Army Big Band, The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Seattle Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Inntone Jazz Festival, in Austria, Birdland Jazz Club in New York, with the Count Basie Orchestra, Savannah Jazz Festival, The Brubeck Institute, a Christmas album with the incredible kids from the University of the Pacific, the Tallahassee Jazz Festival, a concert with the great Students from Appalachian State University…Please don’t make me choose! All of these shows were the highlights of my year!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: At fifty seven years of age, I can say, I am at my vocal best, and loving that I have an Earthworks microphone to show off with!

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