Carmen Bradford


Born in Austin, Texas and raised in Altadena, California, Grammy nominee Carmen Bradford grew up with music in her home and in her heart. It was only natural that Bradford would follow in the footsteps of her great family legacy, as the daughter of legendary trumpeter/ composer Bobby Bradford and world-renowned vocalist/composer Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in the 1940s and sang with the Ink Spots, making Bradford 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.

Bradford was discovered and hired by William “Count” Basie, and was the featured vocalist in the legendary Count Basie Orchestra for nine years. Bradford 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 Johnny Carson” that same year.

In 2016 Carmen Bradford was asked by South African trumpeter, Darren English, to be a part of his new critically acclaimed CD, Imagination Nation on Hot Shoe Records. Whether it’s a duo concert with Shelly Berg, Big Band with the ladies of DIVA or her new favorite: performing with symphony orchestras around the world, 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 lyrics.

Bradford’s love of teaching has been recognized by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as the new Roots, Jazz and American Music (RJAM Program) has welcomed her with open arms. Bradford is the resident Professor of Jazz Voice, and Director of Vocal Jazz Studies.