Who is Paul Bradshaw!
Writer, publisher of Straight No Chaser magazine and cultural evangelist, Paul Bradshaw, has been active on the London music scene since the early Seventies.
Originally from the industrial hinterlands of Manchester he left school for Rochdale College of Art and in 1970 progressed to study painting at Gloucestershire of Art.
Upon arriving in London in 1974 he settled in Dalston and in between teaching practice and college he spent his time in scouring the reggae emporiums on the Kingsland High Road.
Opting out of a career in the teaching profession he commenced working part time as a youth worker and began writing about reggae for the Morning Star and West Indian Digest.
Punk opened the mainstream gates to reggae music and following a commission from the NME editor Neil Spencer to write a live review of Clint Eastwood at the 100 Club he began contributing to the paper.
Features for the NME included: Jamaica’s Dub Poetry scene (Michael Smith, Mutabaruka etc.), Bunny Wailer, Sir Coxsone Sound System, Sugar Minott, Mikey Dread, Dennis Brown, Benjamin Zephaniah, Smiley Culture, Frank Chickens, Slim Gaillard.
At this time Bradshaw also contributed to The Wire magazine, worked part time in Maroons Tunes in Soho and co-managed a daytime project for young unemployed people in north Hackney.
In the summer of 1988, along with Neil Spencer and Kathryn Willgress, he launched a “designer fanzine” Straight No Chaser – a magazine of World Jazz Jive. Though rooted in UK jazz dance scene, it’s embraced the music of the African diaspora. It championed a new generation of UK musicians and producers (Jazz Warriors, Omar, Galliano, 4 Hero, Reprazent etc) alongside up and coming artists from around the world. Straight No Chaser paid maximum respect to the musical elders and innovators who have provided the foundation for today’s culture.
Though he’s never regarded himself as a DJ he regularly played at Far East at the Blue Note in Hoxton Square and on all the Straight No Chaser tours in Japan. He was key to the programming of the London Arts Board backed Straight No Chaser collaborative events – ‘Shape Of Things To Come’ – which featured amongst others The Roots, MC Solar, DJ Krush, Bjork, Talvin Singh, Steve Williamson, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.
In 2009 the impact of the internet on Straight No Chaser led to Bradshaw to make the difficult decision to cease publication of Straight No Chaser. In 2010 he published Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove’s seminal ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene’. It was launched at ‘Beyond The Ballroom’ – a collaboration with The Barbican.
In 2011, Bradshaw has launched his own blog – https://ancienttofuture.wordpress.com/. He writes for www.mondomix.com and acted as consultant for Jamie Cullum’s BBC Radio6 show. Along with Jason Jules, he co-produced numerous events including a “Fringe“ to the London Jazz Festival, ‘The Art Of Lemi Ghariokwu’ and a major exhibition of Chaser photography by Peter Williams.
Current projects include ‘Sacred Music – Sacred Spaces’ – a PRS funded re-interpretation of John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ which is scheduled to be performed at the end of this year – and an exhibition of paintings and illustrations by Japanese artist Yosuke Kawamura.