Clea Bradford, a jazz singer who spent her formative years in St. Louis, has died of complications from breast cancer at age 67 in a Washington, DC hospital.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Charleston, MO and St. Louis, Bradford (pictured) was a protege of trumpeter Clark Terry and saxophonist Jimmy Forrest who in the 1960s gigged frequently in the St. Louis area with Quartette Tres Bien. She later toured the Playboy Club circuit, using the Gateway City as a base, before moving to Los Angeles and then in 1975 to the Washington DC area, where she performed locally and, in later years, concentrated on teaching. In addition to working with Forrest and Terry, Bradford recorded several albums under her own name and performed with Kenny Burrell and Earl "Fatha" Hines. Her survivors include a daughter, Glenda Smith, who still lives in Dupo, IL.
You can read the Washington Post's obituary of Bradford here, and All About Jazz' coverage here. For more on Clea Bradford's music and career, you can listen to an interview she did in 1981 with a DC radio station, archived online in RealMedia format here.