Cindy Bradley trumpets jazz music at the Palm Springs Festival

When Cindy Bradley was in fourth grade, she forgot to sign up to play an instrument in the school band.

A nice teacher knew she had taken piano lessons and asked her if she wanted to play. She told Bradley she could just circle a picture of an instrument on the record sheet, and she picked the trumpet at random.

“I played trumpet in college, but it wasn’t until I joined a swing-style big band outside of school that I fell in love with it,” says Bradley. “I was able to improvise on solos and I discovered that jazz music was a style of music that spoke to me.”

Today, Bradley is a leading trumpeter, flugelhorn and composer on the contemporary and soft jazz scene, delivering smooth, melodic songs that convey strong emotion.

  • She has been compared to some of her own inspirations, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan.

  • She won the 2011 American Smooth Jazz Award for Best New Artist.

  • She won Best New Artist of the Year 2011 and Best Brass Player at the Contemporary Jazz Awards.

  • His latest album, “Unscripted” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart.

“One of my favorite things about jazz music is collaborating with other musicians,” says Bradley. “You play with different people, improvise, share ideas. It makes the experience different every time and that’s the most fun.

Bradley will perform with a line-up of world-class female jazz musicians at the upcoming Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival, April 3-6, in Palm Springs. The event presents different styles and types of jazz.

“I play a lot of different styles…soft sounds, soft jazz, funk, R&B, high energy fusion, especially for live shows,” she says. “I am delighted to collaborate with Jazz in Pink with all the female artists united with their talents. I think this festival is important because there are so few female musicians compared to the men that when there are so many of you together, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. It shows what women are capable of… it’s a chance to expose people to our music who want to pursue their own dreams. I think it’s a beautiful thing!”

When she’s not wowing the jazz world with her artistry, most people are surprised to find that Bradley is also a full-time fourth-grade orchestra teacher in New Jersey.

She juggles the two worlds teaching during the week and flying out most weekends to perform or record. She says she loves the summer festival season because she plays a little more, but she is passionate about influencing budding jazz musicians while encouraging her students to grow in their appreciation of all music.

“I enjoy both teaching and being a musician,” she says. “It’s difficult to interest young people in groups. Jazz is not so current. I try to bring my experience to expose them to different genres.

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