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Perry Bradford's Jazz Phools

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Biography

Perry Bradford (14 February 1893, Montgomery, Alabama – 20 April 1970, New York City) was an African American composer, songwriter, and vaudeville performer.
Perry Bradford grew up in Atlanta where his family moved when he was six, and in 1906 started working with minstrel shows. He played in Chicago as a solo pianist as early as 1909 and visited New York City the following year.

Through extensive experience with traveling minstrel shows and theatre companies, Bradford obtained huge exposure and experience to African American folksongs. A huge feat of Bradford’s was severing the walls of racial prejudice that kept African American singers from recording. He is, too often, unrecognized for this accomplishment. Prior to Bradford’s influence, African American artists recorded in a style that was closely similar to those of white dance orchestras. There was little to no trace of African American musical characteristics present in their recordings. Bradford persevered in getting the recording industry to value recordings of African American artists recording in the style of their own subculture.
As a pianist, singer, dancer and composer, Bradford worked in theatre circuits throughout the South and into the North for the next decade (1908–1919) in a song and dance act billed as “Bradford and Jeanette”.

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