Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Brandford, Jay (Edward)

Brandford, Jay (Edward), alto and baritone saxophonist, flutist, composer/arranger; b. Los Angeles, CA, 24 March 1959. Childhood years also spent in Berkeley, CA, then Cambridge, MA. His mother, Joanne Segal Brandford (1934-1994) Jewish, was a third generation Philadelphian) was a visual artist/art historian. His mother's brother (Ron Segal) was an actor and folksinger in the 1960s; she also has a sister. His father, Paul Brandford (1932-2001), African American (both his parents were from Jamaica) was an engineer/college professor; he has one older sister. His mother sang and played piano at home, and his father was fan of jazz and other music. Jay's siblings are Julie (1956-1998) and Loren (b.1962).

Grade school lessons on trumpet and flute went nowhere but an introduction to jazz while in high school led to an active interest in the clarinet. While in college studying engineering, Jay bought an alto saxophone and was self-taught for 3 or 4 years until he studied with Boston area teacher Ed Fiorenza during the early 1980s. At this time he also studied theory and arranging with guitarist Ross Adams.  Woodshedding, listening, sessioning and some gigging eventually led to a job playing 2nd alto with Dick Johnson's newly formed Artie Shaw Orchestra from 1983 to 1987. Jay also had an opportunity to refine his arranging skills at this time and 2 or 3 of his charts for the band are still in the book.

From the mid 1980s until 1991 Jay was active as creative musician in the Boston area, playing in bands led by Ken Schaphorst, Rob Schepps, Andy Baer, and others. He co-led a quartet with drummer Bob Savine and worked at many local jazz clubs with the Jay Brandford Septet. His arrangements and compositions were performed and/or recorded by Ken Hadley, Craig Ball, Gene DiStasio, Rebecca Paris and others. At this time he also studied briefly but intensely with Jerry Bergonzi.

In 1991 Jay moved to the New York City area and earned an MA in Jazz Saxophone Performance from the Manhattan School Of Music. Dick Oatts, David Berger, Garry Dial, and John Purcell were significant teachers at this time. In 1994 Jay was hired by Mercer Ellington to play baritone saxophone with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. After Mercer's death in 1996 Jay stayed on until 1998 while the band was led by trumpeter Barrie Lee Hall. Jay was also a member of the Jon Hendricks 'Explosion' band from 1994 to 1996.
Jay currently plays tenor sax with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra directed by David Baker, and baritone sax in David Berger's big band. Jay is particularly proud of touring with Berger in the late 1990s when Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion and Britt Woodman were also in the band. Jay is also the baritone sax player for Jerry Dodgion's band (called "The Joy of Sax"), Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, for the 'Newyorkestra' directed by Rob and Andy Middleton, and for the Westchester Jazz Orchestra (formed in the fall of 2003).

Jay continues to be active as a freelancer in the creative music scene in New York. Recent projects include a Kenny Wheeler New York Big Band (2002), Dave Liebman's big band project from 2000/2001, Gerald Wilson's New York big band, and Don Sickler projects with Ray Bryant and Ben Riley.
He is married to Loryn Altsher, a music therapist, and they have two daughters, Simone and Evie, in Westchester County, N.Y.

Seven Point Perspective (1990)

As sideman:
Oliver Lake: Otherside (1988); Matt Glaser: Play Fiddle Play (1988); Ken Schaphorst: Making Lunch (1990); Ken Schaphorst: After Blue (1992); Jazz Composers Alliance: Flux (1992); David Taylor: Past Tells (1994); Cleo Laine: Solitude (1994); Mercer Ellington: Only God Can Make a Tree (1996); Antonio Hart: Here I Stand (1997); DMP Big Band Salutes Duke Ellington (1997); Bill Mobley: Live At Smalls, Volumes 1 & 2 (1998); David Berger: The Harlem Nutcracker (1999); Andy Farber: Bluesectomy (2000); David Berger: Doin' The Do! (2000); Cleo Laine: Live In Manhattan (2001); Loryn Altsher: Loryn Altsher (2002); Ray Bryant with Tina May (2002); Gerald Wilson: New York New Sound (2003): Jerry Dodgion: Joy of Sax (2004); Jimmy Heath Big Band (2004)

Unissued recordings:
A few hours of unissued and privately circulated audiotapes of the Jay Brandford Septet live and in studios (circa 1986-1991)
Privately circulated studio recording of a quartet featuring Bruce Barth (1989)
Unissued videotape of club performance of Jay Brandford Septet (circa 1990)
Privately circulated videotape of Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra live at the Vienne Jazz Festival (1999)
Privately circulated videotape of David Liebman Big Band live at IAJE convention (2001; audio available at gmn.com)
Dave Liebman Big Band Sing, Sing, Sing (2001)unissued

Radio and television broadcasts:
Jay Brandford Septet live on "Music America" WGBH-FM Boston circa 1989; Jay Brandford/Bob Savine Quartet live on WERS-FM Boston circa 1990; Webcast of Loren Schoenberg Big Band live at Caramoor Jazz Festival 1999; Anthony Wilson band live broadcast from Jazztimes convention on "Jazz Set" WBGO-FM 1999; Quincy Jones with David Berger Big Band on "Late Night with David Letterman" 2001

Profile by Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix circa 1988

Boston Music Awards nominee: Best Local Band 1991
Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Saxophone Competition Semifinalist 1991
Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Saxophone Competition Semifinalist 1996
Meet The Composer Grants 1997 and 1998

Contact information:
(646) 271-8632 mobile

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