In conjunction with the nationwide celebration of the Jackie Robinson Centennial, the Baseball Reliquary has announced that it has commissioned renowned jazz trumpeter, cornetist, bandleader, composer, and educator Bobby Bradford to write and perform a musical composition in memory of Jackie Robinson. The Baseball Reliquary is a Pasadena-based nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history and to exploring the national pastime’s unparalleled creative possibilities.
Born on July 19, 1934 in Cleveland, Miss., Bobby Bradford moved to Dallas, Texas in 1946, and then to Los Angeles in 1953. Over the years, he has performed with Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, James Newton, Vinny Golia, David Murray, and others. He is acclaimed for his work with Ornette Coleman, and for his long association with clarinetist John Carter, a pairing that began in the late 1960s. Following Carter’s death in 1991, Bradford fronted his own ensemble known as The Mo’tet, with which he has continued to perform since. Bradford is also noted for his long career as an educator, teaching jazz history and improvisation at Pasadena City College for 33 years, and presently at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
The Jackie Robinson musical composition, which is entitled “Stealin’ Home” and will be approximately 40 minutes in length, is the first commission for the 84-year-old Bradford. The work will be finished, and its world premiere presented by Bradford and his ensemble, in the fall of 2019. About the commission, Bradford has said, “When Jackie Robinson made his Major League debut in 1947, I was in the seventh grade in Dallas, Texas, and like many Americans, especially black people, I was overjoyed at the coming of our champion of baseball. Now, 72 years later, I have been given the opportunity to write music in his honor, and I am deeply grateful to Terry Cannon and the Baseball Reliquary for their confidence in me. Robinson was a great black man, a man of stature and courage, a great American, and an exceptional athlete. I hope in some small way to pay tribute to his memory with music.”
For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647, by e-mail at email@example.com, or visit baseballreliquary.org. The Baseball Reliquary is supported, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.