ST. CHARLES – Saxophonist and composer Geof Bradfield has been recognized as a rising star in music circles.
Bradfield, joined by pianist Ben Waltzer and bassist Dennis Carroll, will perform the music of Billy Strayhorn and Thelonious Monk, as well as favorite jazz standards from 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at the St. Charles Public Library as part of the WDCB Jazz: Jammin’ in the Stacks music series.
To register for the event, visit the library’s website at scpld.org.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Bradfield about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and style.
Eric Schelkopf: A library seems like a great venue for a concert.
Geof Bradfield: The library is nice because you don’t have to be 21 to get in. It’s not a nightclub, so younger people can go. People who may not want to stay out late at night and want to see something in the afternoon can go.
Schelkopf: You also are associate professor of jazz saxophone and jazz studies at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. What do you try to get across to your students?
Bradfield: It varies from student to student. Students have different needs and different interests and different focus.
To some extent, it depends on the particular student. I’m trying to communicate my passion for the music to them and that feeling of connectedness with the history of the music.
Schelkopf: A lot of musicians are trying to make their mark in the music world. What are you trying to do through your music?
Bradfield: I’m really just trying to stay engaged and to make my community of musicians I work with stronger and to make those relationships deeper. The idea of making your mark or having an individual voice, that’s kind of an inevitable outcome if you’re doing those things, if you’re seeking out creative opportunities and trying to make them happen for yourself and others. That’s just going to happen as you create the environment where you can.
Schelkopf: You have been recognized in Downbeat magazine critics polls as a rising star tenor saxophonist and arranger. To garner those types of accolades, how does that make you feel?
Bradfield: Of course, it’s really an honor. At the same time, I recognize that all of that in the music business can be really fleeting. And unless you have something that is more about your sort of inner drive and your internal perspective of yourself, as well as a community of musicians [you] care about working with, that stuff goes in cycles.
Schelkopf: How were you drawn to the saxophone in the first place?
Bradfield: My dad was a classical flute and organ player and my mom had a lot of jazz records. My dad had only classical records.
My mom wanted me to play saxophone and I was pretty agreeable. It was completely my mother’s influence.
Schelkopf: What is it that you like about the instrument?
Bradfield: One of the things I like about it, especially as a jazz instrument, is that everybody can have a very personable voice on the instrument. There’s so many different approaches.
It’s not really about right or wrong. There’s not just one model. Think about how different Stan Getz sounds than John Coltrane. And they almost sound like completely different instruments. The range of expressiveness is one of the things that draws me the most.
Note to readers: The Sunday concert series features a variety of performers at 2 p.m. in the Carnegie Community Room. Seating is limited for the free concert series. Doors will open 20 minutes before each performance.
If you go
WHAT: Geof Bradfield Trio in WDCB Jazz: Jammin’ in the Stacks
WHEN: 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 11
WHERE: St. Charles Public Library, 1 S. Sixth Ave., St. Charles
INFO: To register for the concert, visit scpld.org