When listening to Bobby Broom's Trio perform on his new CD, Song and Dance, one is immediately struck by how much s-p-a-c-e there is. With lesser musicians that could be a problem, but Broom and stalwart Dennis Carroll on bass and relative newcomer Kobie Watkins on drums, do an excellent job of presenting the necessary notes, pauses and attacks to frame the music for the listener, a feat not to be taken lightly. The majority of the disc is comprised of a combination of jazz-adapted pop tunes and Broom originals, opening with a tasty rendition of the Beatles' tune, "Can't Buy Me Love."
Mining the pop charts from his younger days is paying dividends for Broom. In addition to the Beatles (Broom admits to being a fan) he found material in Jimmy Webb's composition (and Glen Campbell's hit), "Wichita Lineman," Leon Russell's "Superstar" and the 1972 hit by Roberta Flack, "Where is the Love," the second track on the CD. As the behind-the-scenes story goes, the song came at the suggestion of bassist Carroll. Broom wanted to play "something different." Carroll suggested "Where is the Love," and that it be done in 3/4 time. The result is a surprisingly fresh take. It's interesting that despite a syncopated rhythm laying down a completely different feel from the popular version, that "Witchita Lineman," the disc's standout cover tune, retains most of the arrangement of the original. Broom's deft guitar work often sounds as though two guitars were overdubbedóit's that good.
Broom's original tunes more than hold their ownóthey are interesting and melodic. One can easily imagine humming them, which is a good indicator. The one exception to the "hummability" test is "Blues For Modern Man," which ironically is not a blues at all, but a boppish tuneóor at least a frenetic tuneóin which Broom comments on the state of today's society: we're not blue, we're anxiety ridden. Not the first time it's been done, but Broom and company do it well. As for the recording itself, the drums, especially the ride cymbal, seem to be a bit out front in the mix, occasionally distracting from the tasty guitar-work of Broom and making Carroll's bass felt, less than heard. On the whole, however, Broom and his compadres have put together a fine CD, and one you should add to your collection.