Make Room for Lin Rountree, Jeff Bradshaw, and David P. Stevens
By Katherine Gilraine
Some years ago, there was an open call for new artists to come to the jazz scene, and the call was answered with gusto by many from all over the globe. Closer to home, at the Jazz Legacy Foundation Gala of November 2021, three of those musicians reminded us of that long-ago call onstage, and showed the attendees that not only is jazz vibrant and alive, but it absolutely requires you to party.
Music lovers, say hello to the trio of Lin Rountree, David P. Stevens, and Jeff Bradshaw. And if you don’t know them already, then you definitely should.
If you’ve been on board the Capital Jazz SuperCruise at least once, especially 2013-2017, you will recognize Jeff Bradshaw as the trombone alongside Patti LaBelle. You would also remember his credo as he crashed the Spur of the Moment show: “I’m from North Philadelphia… and I like to party!” And no question, the show at Jazz Legacy Foundation proved exactly that; no one expects a trombone to be handled with the verve and energy of a trumpet, but no one has met Jeff Bradshaw. And that is exactly what he does: he will command the stage, command his instrument, and basically order the party to happen.
Let’s be clear, however: David P. Stevens and Lin Rountree are each more than capable of doing the same in their own right, but as the Jazz Legacy stage showed, it’s infinitely more fun when the three of them work together.
Where jazz today is a great mixing bowl of other genres’ flavors, every artist carves out their sound and gains notice based on their own individuality. The best part about Rountree, Bradshaw, and Stevens is that not a single one of their styles can uniquely be confined to any one genre. Listen to David P. Stevens’s CDs, you’ll hear R&B and hip-hop elements in styling; see him onstage and he can more than deliver you George Benson on an auditory silver platter. Lin Rountree is no smooth-jazz guy, even if some of his prior album cuts (Sumthin’ Good) might suggest it. Not when funk and soul are peppered all over his later releases and his performance style. And what is Jeff Bradshaw’s sound but a raucous party waiting to happen?
At Jazz Legacy Foundation back in November 2021, Rountree, Bradshaw, and Stevens showed up and, in every possible definition of the words, showed out. From the sharp back-and-forth exchanges to the overall infectious energy, they showed everyone exactly what they were all about, and the best part of it was the sheer and absolute joy of being onstage that shone through with every note.
For everyone who wants to hear new music within the contemporary/smooth jazz world – it exists. It’s right within reach. And it’s absolutely nothing like what you might expect, but it’s everything you will enjoy.