[JPL] Ed Bradley

Bindert, Dan DBindert at chicagopublicradio.org
Thu Nov 9 15:34:59 EST 2006


Ed Bradley talking about his days as a jazz DJ, making $1.50 an hour. 

This is excepted from a 2004 AAJ interview....


In his 20s, he got the side job at WDAS in Philadelphia playing jazz music for fun, certainly not for profit.

”The idea that I could go to a station and open the cabinet doors of what we called the library and pull out music present and past and play what I liked to play, music I liked to hear, and that there were people out there listening to my taste in music — Man, it just didn't get better than that. What more could you want? A friend of mine said, 'If I turn the radio on and I hear Billie Holiday, I know you're on the air,'” he said with a gentle laugh.

Being a disc jockey also contributed to Bradley broadening his tastes in jazz. How? The word “exposure” is once again the key.

”My tastes at that time, I guess this would be 1964-65, reflected where I was. I was 24, 25 years old. I was into Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Horace Silver, Mal Waldron, younger, hipper guys. When I became a disc jockey, I would get phone calls. Listeners would call up and say, 'Hey. How come you don't play Count Basie?' Well, Count Basie wasn't happening for me, but because I would get people who would ask for it, Count Basie or Duke Ellington, I would say, 'Let me see what we have here on Count Basie. Wow, he has a lot of albums.' And then Duke Ellington. 'Whoa, man. Does he have a lot of albums! Let me play some of these and see what I hear in them.'”

”Then I started playing big bands. From there, it took me to other big bands. Playing people like Coltrane and realizing there was someone who came before Coltrane. Where did he come from? Then somebody asked me about Dexter Gordon. I had never heard of Dexter Gordon. I pulled out an album and heard “Scrapple From the Apple,” and said 'Whoa, man.' So I started looking for Dexter Gordon and where did he come from? That took me to people like Ben Webster, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt.

”What I do now as a journalist, when I'm doing a story, I have to do homework. I have to read everything I need to read about that story, so I know what I'm talking about. When I was a disc jockey, I had to do homework to find out about this music that was really new to me. So, I did a lot of listening on my own and exploring people whom I didn't really know a lot about, and discovered some great musicians. I just loved it. It's never stopped. My tastes are very eclectic and catholic in the universal sense. I like music and I see jazz as one category in music. I like all kinds of jazz.”

As a young man eyeing his future, Bradley had to stop doing what he liked in order to follow bigger pursuits.

”I could never make a living on what they paid me at WDAS. I made $1.50 an hour, tops. Maybe by the end I got up to about $2 an hour. I was teaching school during the day and working at the radio station at night. I had come to a point where I had to make a decision to do one or the other. I was also doing some journalism. Looking down the road, I didn't see a promising future as a jazz disc jockey. I could have a lot of fun, but I wasn't going to be able to live the kind of life I wanted to live. And I didn't think I could do that as a teacher either.

”Financially, I wanted more than that. Emotionally, in terms of what I wanted to see in my life and in the world, I wanted more than being in a fixed place everyday. I didn't realize it at the time, but I realize it now. What was driving me was that sort of wanderlust. If you're a teacher, you go to the classroom every day. If you're a jazz disc jockey, you go to the radio station every day. I have a wanderlust to see different places, travel the world, do things like that. That's what made me go into journalism.”


-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com on behalf of Eric Jackson
Sent: Thu 11/9/2006 2:28 PM
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: Re: [JPL] Ed Bradley
 
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On Thursday 09 November 2006 14:30, Jackson, Bobby wrote:

> Eric,
>
> Sounds like a great place to have grown up in and be exposed to the music. 

Yeah it was. Although I never heard him, I'm pretty sure Michael Cuscuna was 
on the air at WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania's radio station around 
that same time.

I think I was in high school when WRTI seemed to become very popular. There 
were some who said RTI helped spark a jazz revival in Philly in the late 60s. 
I believe the commercial stations had changed their formats by that time.

Eric Jackson
8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
WGBH Boston
89.7 FM
www.wgbh.org/jazz

> I'm reminded of a saying that goes, "enjoy every sandwich."  That's the
> best sandwich I've heard of in a 
> long time.  Bradley will certainly be 
> missed.  He was a great, sensitive and gifted journalist.
>
> I wonder who will fill Bradley's shoes on "Jazz From Lincoln Center."  I
> couldn't help but think of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for some reason.
>
> Bobby Jackson
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
> [mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Eric Jackson Sent:
> Thursday, November 09, 2006 2:03 PM
> To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [JPL] Ed Bradley
>
> -------------------------------------------
>
> This week's sponsor:  JazzWeek Magazine 
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> The Jazz Programmers Mailing List is a free service provided by JazzWeek.
> For more information visit us at  http://www.jazzweek.com/jpl
> To become a sponsor contact Devon Murphy
> at devon at jazzweek.com or 866-453-6401 x3.
>
> -------------------------------------------
>
> On Thursday 09 November 2006 12:24, Dr. Jazz wrote:
> > CBS Newsman and a great supporter of jazz has passed away from leukemia.
>
> Sad news. I grew up in Camden, NJ just across the river from Philadelphia.
> When I was in elementary school and in Jr high school, Philly had two
> commercial 24 hour jazz stations. Joel Dorn did the evening shift at one of
> the stations. Ed Bradley was the evening announcer on the other station.
>
> Eric Jackson
> 8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
> WGBH Boston
> 89.7 FM
> www.wgbh.org/jazz
>
> > Dr. Jazz
> > Dr. Jazz Operations
> > 24270 Eastwood
> > Oak Park, MI  48237
> > (248) 542-7888
> > http://www.drjazz.com
> > SKYPE:  drjazz99
> >
> >
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