Will Bradley, Jr. -- any drum credits for Bill Bradley, Jr. are the same guy -- is a second generation professional jazzman who seemed to move pretty quickly through the ranks. At 16 he was already a regular part of the '50s bandstand action at New York City clubs such as Birdland and Basin Street, and even more remarkable was that he had only started pounding on the tubs a couple of years before leaders such as clarinetist Tony Scott started putting him to use. A sample of this drummer's hard-swinging style would literally brush away any notions of nepotism being part of his advancement.
Influenced by great players such as Art Blakey and Max Roach, the younger Bradley was keen to get in on all the new trends in jazz in the '50s. As a teenager he played with the fine guitarist Johnny Smith, who would later become a great jazz educator, as well as superior trombonist Kai Winding, who favored tempos only a degree short of blinding. Differences between the son and father's careers amounted to more than just the changes in jazz styles between generations. For one thing, trombonist and bandleader Will Bradley's recorded output simply towers over his son's, who was credited in a 1991 discography as having appeared on only a bit more than a dozen releases since his teenage bandstand days. Another can be added to the pile in 1992, when Bradley Jr. played on saxophonist Frank Strazzeri's album entitled Frank's Blues. There has been one release under the drummer's name, an Epic side entitled House of Bradley. The drummer is not related to the Scottish Will Bradley, also a drummer, who is a member of the band Life Without Buildings.