cornetist, composer and musicologist BRAD KAY
has played in and led bands in Los Angeles since 1965, when he
began performing at Shakey’s Pizza Parlors. Music has been
his consuming passion since childhood, starting with ragtime and
developing into a love for all great American music — especially
the hot jazz of the 1920s.
His band, The Majestic Dance Orchestra, re-created hot orchestral
music of the ’20s and ’30s from 1975-’79 and
again from 1991-’94. With his septet, The Uptown Curmudgeons
of Swing (1995 to 1997), he evoked some of the great pianists
of the era such as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin
(among many), but was essentially himself in his heatedly optimistic
solos. Since 1997, he has led a piano trio, played cornet and
piano and recorded with Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys. As a
music researcher, Brad has made several important discoveries,
including new and previously overlooked 78 rpm records by Bix
Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong. He has produced LP and CD reissues
of great and overlooked artists such as pioneering bandleader
James Reese Europe, and has contributed to many reissue CDs out
of his vast collection of original 78s.
Classic ragtime was his first inspiration, and his entree into
composing. A folio and cassette of some of Brad’s original
ragtime compositions, “Seven Rags” appeared in 1994.
Some of the best of his numerous original compositions can be
heard on his debut album of piano music, “We Gotta Start
Meeting Like This,” which was issued in 2002.
Brad performs and sings from a vast repertoire of the century’s
popular music. A hit at the every RagFest since and including
2001, he returns this year as a soloist, a role festival audiences
may find unusual – but which for Brad is par for the course.