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Every summer needs that perfect contemporary jazz tune celebrating the joyful energy of being alive and basking in the sunshine. The summer of 2015 gets its anthem a few months early with the high spirited, instantly infectious “Jumpstep,” a track that marks the highly anticipated emergence of multi-talented Southern California based keyboardist and composer Dave Bradshaw, Jr. Aside from being the perfect, radio friendly showcase for his melodic, funky and playfully jazzy keys, the song marks the launch of an exciting musical partnership with saxophonist, composer and producer Darren Rahn, who co-wrote and produced “Jumpstep.”
Rahn, who has worked similar studio magic for everyone from Dave Koz, Eric Darius and Najee to Nate Harasim, Tim Bowman and the late Wayman Tisdale, is now working on new tracks with Bradshaw, including several slated to be follow-up singles – with an eye towards releasing the keyboardist’s full length debut album later in 2015.
The story behind Bradshaw’s development as a contemporary urban jazz artist after years as a renowned, very versatile sideman in Southern California is as poignant as “Jumpstep” is uplifting. For 13 years, he was a member of the Al Williams Jazz Society, a popular, multi-faceted ensemble led by the popular jazz drummer and jazz promoter, known for their regular gigs at Spaghettini in Seal Beach and rousing annual performances at the Long Beach Jazz Festival. The keyboardist had the pleasure of opening for genre greats like Kenny G and Brian Culbertson; he was often inspired by their success and felt like he had the potential to become an artist and performer in his own right. But at some point, while continuing at the top of his game technically, he started feeling like he was losing his passion for music.
The passing of Bradshaw’s father in 2010 changed everything, making him realize like never before that time was quickly passing by and if he wanted to pursue deeper dreams, this was the time. Composing became a necessary catharsis, and he began putting all of his intense emotions over his dad’s loss into music. Excited by what he was writing, he invested in DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software and started making his own beats and tracks. He was encouraged by many of his musical cohorts to do a recording. He started off very DIY, printing his own CDs with graphics he created himself.
Working with a radio promoter, Bradshaw was about to send the original track of “Jumpstep” out to stations when he heard some of Rahn’s work for other artists and decided the producer could take his vibe to the next level. Rahn immediately heard Bradshaw’s potential and the two developed the track, adding new melodic ideas in the verses and hiring Rahn regulars like bassist Mel Brown to replace the synth-generated tracks of Bradshaw’s first version.
“I seriously could have come out with the track that became ‘Jumpstep’ a few months earlier,” says Bradshaw, “but hearing the incredible work Darren had done for these other artists made me realize that his Midas touch was essential. The whole journey of working with him was magical, and even better, the two of us connected on a personal level as well and have become good friends as well as collaborators. I’m excited that we’re working on new songs and I’m looking forward to making my debut album with him.”