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Paul Bradshaw

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 '70s. 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 those on  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 and Slim Gaillard.

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 "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. 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 launched his own blog – https://ancienttofuture.wordpress.com/.  He  writes for www.mondomix.com and acted as consultant for Jamie Cullum's BBC 6Music 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 – and an exhibition of paintings and illustrations by Japanese artist Yosuke Kawamura.

Paul Bradshaw's blog

List of articles in the library by artist

The Beat, Laurel Aitken: The Old (Rude) Boy Network: The Return Of Laurel Aitken

Profile by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, March 1980

SUNDAY NIGHT at the Lyceum and Laurel Aitken, the 'high priest of reggae' (remember that one, boot boys?) the king of Jamaican blues, whose musical ...

Dennis Bovell: Running Off Copies, Blackbeard Treads The Boards: Dennis Bovell — Dub Juice On The Loose

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, April 1984

BACK IN THE STUDIO WITH DENNIS BOVELL AND THE DUB BAND, BLACKBEARD IS HUNGRY TO PLAY, PAUL BRADSHAW READY TO LISTEN ...

Billy Bragg, Bronski Beat, The Redskins: The Redskins, Billy Bragg, Bronski Beat: Institute of Contemporary Art, London

Live Review by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, January 1984

...THE POWER... THE GLORY... THE RED HARRINGTON!!! ...

Dennis Brown: The Prophet Rides High

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, September 1983

WITH THREE singles constantly bubbling in the reggae charts, and The Prophet Rides Again riding high in the soul charts as well as being the ...

Burning Spear: Brixton Academy, London

Live Review by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, February 1984

BURNING! ...

Culture, Far Image: Friars, Aylesbury

Live Review by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, April 1981

BRINGING CULTURE TO THE MASSES ...

Smiley Culture, Papa Levi, Asher Senator: Smiley Culture, Papa Levi and Asher Senator: Three Baad DJ

Profile and Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, August 1984

A NEW GENERATION OF BLACK BRITISH TOASTERS ARE SETTING THE PACE OF REGGAE RUNNINGS. SMILEY CULTURE, PAPA LEVI AND ASHER SENATOR TALK IN DOUBLE TIME TO PAUL BRADSHAW. ...

Mikey Dread: Who's The Dread At The Hub Of Dub? Michael Campbell

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, January 1980

"Zzzzzz-z-z-z pheeeww zzzzz-z-z-z pheeeeww zzzzzzzzzz-z-z-z" "Wake up Jonathan, wake up!!" "Cho 'lef me nuh, can't you see I man waan sleep?" "Wake up nuh man, ...

Eek-A-Mouse, Yellowman: Yellowman: Zungguzungguguzungguzeng (Greensleeves); Eek-A-Mouse: The Man And The Mouse (Greensleeves)

Review by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, August 1983

Of Mice and Yellowmen ...

Grand Mixer D.ST: A Cut-Up Above The Rest

Profile and Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, January 1984

PAUL BRADSHAW ASKS GRAND MIXER D.ST HOW TO BE MIXED-UP AND SUCCESSFUL ...

Janet Kay: Do Actors Sing Better Lovers?

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, November 1984

JANET KAY comes offstage to talk to PAUL BRADSHAW ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers, Bunny Wailer: Bunny Wailer: The Bright Soul of the Blackheart Man

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, January 1984

From his boyhood friendship with Bob Marley and the foundation of The Wailers, to a solo career that's produced a wealth of inspired (and under-rated) music, BUNNY WAILER remains ...

Michael (Mikey) Smith: Dub Poet Michael Smith Murdered

Report by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, August 1983

MICHAEL SMITH, Jamaica's foremost dub poet, was murdered last week, stoned to death by thugs suspected of being activists from the ruling Jamaica Labour Party ...

Michael (Mikey) Smith, Mutabaruka, Oku Onuora: Dub Poets Of The Eighties

Interview by Paul Bradshaw, New Musical Express, October 1982

Jamaica '82: the DJs rule the nation's charts and hearts but alternative voices are making themselves heard in the roots poetry of artists like MUTABARUKA and MICHAEL SMITH. PAUL ...

List of genre pieces

Hail Brethren And Sistren: A Big Big Sound System Splashdown

Special Feature by Paul Bradshaw, Vivien Goldman, Penny Reel, New Musical Express, February 1981

WHERE REGGAE really begins — in tune to the sound system. Here is the heart of the music: groups of youth, each with their different philosophies, ...

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