Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley
Paying Respect to Clive Bradley at Desperadoes Pan Yard
November 27, 2005
"I do not know where to begin, especially right now. If one of the guys was very hurt, it is me. Just yesterday I was home talking to myself about the amount of things that Bradley could have done. But he's gone with everything, and the wisdom of everything is to try to get some from somebody before they die. It is not just the music that he did…something out of that head; that brain, and we never got it and that is what makes the loss more so great. It is not an ordinary thing, it is a great loss and it doesn't have anybody who could say 'well I learned something from Clive Bradley'.
I am one of the men who fight for Bradley to come back in Desperadoes and when I say I fight, I mean fight real hard, and against the odds. When I was lying down at home I was remembering certain things and tears came to my eyes. I am talking about it now, and it is hard. I would rather leave the talking for someone else to do because it will do too much to me. I do not feel I could handle it good as yet."
"I have known Mr. Bradley for over a period of years. I also played with W.I.T.C.O. Desperadoes and I was touched by Mr. Bradley's music. His arrangements have always been superb and his ideas were unspeakable. He was the brain child of a heavenly sent arranger. When we speak about angels, God tells us about music in heaven and his inspirations have always been heavenly.
You can know these things just by a person's personality, the way they move. The talent that he had is what I know Trinidad and Tobago will greatly miss. He has done something so wonderful like taking a tune by John Legend and topping the bands of Trinidad and Tobago which really shows the greatness of arrangements. What Trinidad and Tobago will really miss is the talent of that brain child that was blessed to the hills of Laventille. What he has done for W.I.T.C.O. Desperadoes is remarkable.
I am so happy to be a part of his legacy. I wish that things could be in place so that arrangers could really benefit in the future so when ever they pass on the future wouldn't go with them. We will have their works for the younger generations, teachers and students. We really need to look into these things and see how best we could make it better."
Joseph Martin Curath
"My name is Joseph Martin Curath of upper Laventille Road East Dry River. I knew Mr. Bradley from seeing him off and on and the times when he spoke with me. He asked me if I was from around the area and I told him I have been living in Laventille about thirty-six years now. I knew him from seeing him coming here and arranging pan making his statements inside of the City groups about what to do and what not to do.
He was a good man and I am sorry he died. It is a painful experience. Most of his music was very nice, but it is just for him to be there to enjoy it."
Carl Cambridge aka 'Hanger'
"The Desperadoes that we knew was Rose Hill, Calvary was Renegades, and when we were going to school it was riot; it wasn't the music aspect and the recognition. Bradley coming into the era, not despising that Beverly [Griffith] won prior to him, changed the whole of Laventille. When the twelve men that went to prison came out, they were seeing a different era of Desperadoes. The fighting and the chopping that they saw before they went to prison, they were not seeing that again. It was from rope (fighting) to peace and love brother-man…that was the terms. We used to sit down and hang together instead of rope. They were saying peace and love brother man, because they saw a great change, and I mean change also in the music.
When Bradley played mas' in Madison Square Garden is what changed the whole pan era. Men went from beating pan to playing pan. That was the greatest era that ever took place in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. Nobody believed that a steelband could have played like an orchestra; it had jazz in it. From there, if you take up any steelband today, they have that flavor. It is like you cooking pelau with coconut and everybody else cooking it without coconut and from the time that coconut comes in it changes the flavor.
Catelli's first Panorama was in 1976 with 'Rain-o-rama.' Desperadoes had the same arrangements, which had singing in it. Bradley was the first arranger that would not only put in the voices, but he would come with one thing in the beginning and then he would change it, no other arranger used to do that. When Catelli saw that they copied the same voice thing and they won Panorama…it was robbery.
What Bradley put into the pan was that he changed the music styling from strumming to playing. Like they say, 'he never played a note'. Bradley didn't record music; he carried it in his ear. All he had to do was hear it. He said at one time, the difference between arranging for smaller bands and big bands with quadro-phonic, your twelve bass and your nine bass, you have to give them a different type of music. Why he stayed with Desperadoes, was because Desperadoes was the only band that could have applied what he knew. The other bands didn't have what Desperadoes had.
When Rudolph Charles died, there was never another invention in pan. Rudolph Charles did the twelve bass, nine bass, rocket pan, quadro-phonic, the yin and yang. After he died, the only thing they have now is that they are cutting a hole in some of the drums, the tenor bass for echo. On a one and one, when Rudolph Charles died there was never invention in pan after that.
What Bradley did to the pan world, the results are there e.g. Exodus and even Renegades. Put Desperadoes music and put anybody music and see who learn from whom. Desperadoes is the foundation of Bradley's flavor that he handed to the pan world. Everybody else sounds alike; if you listen to Panorama everybody sounds alike. It might be a different tune but everybody arrange alike and Ray Holman and them know this. Bradley's evidence stands for itself.
Bradley proved himself when he had 'Esquires'. When Bradley had Esquires with brass, he had two boys named Michael and Barb who sang. They went to St Croix and a guy there said if he didn't push the door and see them, they would have believed it was Michael Jackson singing. These guys were 'Barb' and 'Licking stick'.
The key thing is that what Bradley handed to the hill, nobody else did. He changed the mentality of the guys, and the music world… everybody copied from him. Nobody had that flavor."
Errol Stewart aka Abu
"My name is Errol Stewart, they call me Abu Nazir. I started playing pan since I was a little fellow in 1969. It was the first time I played in the band and Bradley was the arranger of the band at that time. The second year as a little youth, at the age of fourteen, I won in Panorama with Bradley music. It was the first time I heard music sounding like an orchestra because long it was different.
What Bradley did to the pan music in general, is that he brought a change to arranging steelband music. He did something really great especially to Laventille by bringing in peace and love.
He is gone but he would not be forgotten. We will always remember him anytime the band plays."
My name is Urica Pierre and I am one of the members of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra for the last seventeen years. It was a great honour working with the man called Clive Bradley and it was a pleasure to get to know this person that everyone knows as a great man, not only in the steelband world but in the musical world too.
It would be a great loss and it is a great loss to the community, the band of Desperadoes and also other bands. I know that we would not be able to function for a little while because this is the third loss we have had in one year and out of the three losses this was the second one that came unexpectedly and it hit the band very hard. People cried and band members cannot come to terms that we have really lost him.
The band was in Antigua at the time when he took in and they were traveling back home when he passed away."
Bertram Glasgow (Captain)
"My name is Bertram Glasgow and I am the captain of Desperadoes and my feeling on Bradley is that he is an icons and is a very big loss to us. Bradley taught us a lot of things up here. If it wasn't for him I might have been…Thank god for Bradley. He kept us here and I happened to reach captain of the band through learning things from him. It is a very big loss for Laventille but life has to go on. He has left us at a certain level and we have to carry it on.
His music was the best thing in the world. No arranger is in Bradley's class…he is the best. They are right there too and they have learned from him but they are not in his class. He was one of the best arrangers that ever passed. I am sorry but when the master calls you, you have to answer, all of us… and when He calls we cannot say no… we have to go. It was shocking to us because we were going Antigua Thursday and he was doing some music for us. About the Tuesday and he said he was feeling sick and we let him go home to rest and the Wednesday he ended up in the hospital. We left the Thursday morning early and we came back Friday morning and about 10 a.m in the airport I got a call telling me that Clive Bradley died. I was so shocked…I was going to see him that same evening in the hospital.
It is sad but we cannot do anything about it again. He did a lot of things for the people of Laventille and he was so bright. People looked up to him. When Clive was around the youths and they came around to try to learn what they could from him. It is a very big loss to us. He taught us a lot of things. We are hoping we can get someone like him again but people like Bradley come once in every thousand years. We are hoping to get something in time to come. He was the greatest guy that ever passed in Laventille. Rudolph Charles was also one of the greatest too. It is a big loss but we have to move on."
Anthony Lambert aka 'Tony Pro'
My name is Anthony Lambert but most people know me as 'Tony Pro' in the pan world, especially in New York. I learned to play music under Bradley and I have played Bradley's music more than anybody else. In New York we had band called 'The First Despers USA' and then it was 'Metro' and then 'Pan Tonics'. Bradley was the one who encouraged me to learn to read the music as well.
I remember there was a couple of fellows and myself in college at the time and we wanted to learn to play pan so we spoke to Bradley about it. He said, "Boy come down and learn to play the pan. You are a Trinidadian and it is in your blood," and that is how we started playing in 1987. Bradley and I had a close relationship, I guess, because of my temperament. I was different from the average person; I wasn't the type of person who really enjoyed the pan yard scene but I loved the music; Bradley's music.
Most people do not know but he was a very generous person, a very frank and matter of fact person. He would tell you what he feels and it didn't matter if you liked it or not, he never hid anything. One of the things that stood out to me about Bradley and his music is that he used his music and interpreted the lyrics instrumentally.
We have lost a real genius but somebody will rise from within the pan movement… not really fill his shoes but give us something special as well. I am glad to have been that close to him and may he rest in peace.
Clive Bradley's body was at Desperadoes Pan Yard from 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Friday 2nd December 2005. Funeral Services for Clive Bradley was held at 10:00 am on Friday 2nd December, 2005 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Independence Square Port of Spain thence to the Diego Martin Cemetery for burial.
Moving send-off for pan icon Bradley
Funeral Services and Tribute to Clive Bradley Album at:
- Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley - 27th Nov. 2005
- Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley - 28th Nov. 2005
- Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley - 30th Nov. 2005
- Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley - 02nd Dec. 2005 - Pt 1
- Tribute to the Legend Clive Bradley - 02nd Dec. 2005 - Pt 2
Visit Desperadoes Steelband Album at:
Tribute to Bradley Homepage | Trinbago Pan Homepage