Paul Broadnax began his professional career in 1946 working with baritone sax player Joe Perry, the brother of Ray Perry, who was one of the top jazz violinists of the 1940s. Broadnax also had a trio in the late '40s that entertained troops at the Roxbury, MA USO. But even before then, Broadnax was in the Special Services branch of the U.S. Army during WWII, where he worked with pianist Donn Trenner. A half century later, Trenner was to become the musical director for Broadnax's album Here's to Joe, a tribute to Joe Williams. Broadnax comes from a musical family. His uncle, Joe Lee, was a stride pianist and his parents were classically trained singers. Although Broadnax studied music during his youth, it was in mechanical engineering that he received a degree from Northeastern University. Over the years, there have been appearances at clubs, festivals, and concerts in and around the New England area, including stints at Sculler Jazz Club and stints at jazz festivals in Brockton and Winthrop, ME and at Portsmouth, NH. In 1992, Broadnax performed at Lionel Hampton's festival in Moscow, ID. His trio had a regular program on the ABC TV station affiliate in Boston during the '60s.
Broadnax cites Nat King Cole and Lester Young as stylistic influences. Like Cole, he accompanies himself on piano. Broadnax recorded his first album as a leader -- It's About Time -- for Brownstone Recordings in 1994. His tribute album to Joe Williams, Here's to Joe, came out in 1996. Broadnax and Williams not only had similar styles, but were friends up to the latter's untimely death. Another album, Strike Up the Band, was released in 1999, and Broadnax's other recordings have included Friends and Live at Indian Hill Music. He has also appeared on albums by Greg Abate, Monica Hatch, and the Ken Hadley Big Band. Blessed with a smooth, silky baritone in the mold of Joe Williams, Johnny Hartman, and Earl Coleman, Broadnax had to work the boards for far too many years before getting his recording chance. As his solo albums attest, it was a long wait, but worth it.