Bobby Broom has to be one of the hardest working jazz guitar slingers in the business. As well as being Sonny Rollins' choice guitarist, both for recording and touring, Broom also plays in the funky Chicago Hammond B-3 group, Deep Blue Organ Trio, which holds court at the Green Mill nightclub on a weekly basis. Broom's resume is extensive going back to the late 70s with Art Blakey, Hugh Masekela, and even a super brief stopover with Miles Davis. He was a mainstay with the late great Charles Earland.
His jazz education credentials are impeccable and include attending the Berklee School of Music as well as teaching at Jackie McLean's jazz program at the University of Hartford, as well as more current teaching duties at DePaul University.
It has been approximately six years since Broom has led his own recording session, and his new Origin release, Song and Dance, is a welcome addition to his discography. It's a trio session, with Bobby accompanied by bassist, Dennis Carroll, and drummer, Kobie Watkins. Broom has production duties and contributed three original compositions along with an eclectic mix of tunes ranging from the Beatles, the Little Rascals theme, Charles Chaplin's Smile and Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman.
The Beatle's Can't Buy Me Love opens the proceedings, and Bobby shows his Kenny Burrell influence, as Bobby played in Burrell's Jazz Guitar band for a period of time. But Bobby has developed his own sound, and he takes the Beatles off in a few new directions. Drummer Watkins has a strong drum solo and makes full use of the entire drum set. Where is the Love follows and Broom sweetly plays this ballad made famous by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.
The Little Rascals theme, Good Old Days, goes off into an avant territory and just gives off hints of the original melody. Its changes both challenge and invigorate. Coming Home follows and although Bobby has been playing his composition since the early 90s, it finds its recording home here. It has a modal feeling and the three instruments blend well. The guitar notes come rapid fire but leave room for contemplation.
Bobby has brought back Blues for Modern Man (the title cut from his 2001 Delmark session), and Waiting and Waiting from prior CDs. He feels they are done more effectively here than on their previous issue. No argument here.
Chaplin's Smile is given a reflective reading and at 8:29, Broom and Company have time to give this standard some unique treatment. Bassist Carroll has an effective walking bass line that reminds me of Leroy Vinnegar. Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman, which has too long been associated with Glen Campbell, here is redeemed by Broom and its melody is given the gentle melodic treatment it deserves. Song and Dance is a jazz guitar lover's dream as it both soothes and challenges the listener. No snoozy dinner background music here! Broom has entered the elite pantheon of guitar masters, worth mentioning with the likes of Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, Wes Montgomery, and Tal Farlow. It's time he receives the acclaim he is due, and Song and Dance can set the stage for more nationwide exposure for Broom. It's well deserved!