Guitarist Bobby Broom is one of the few jazz artists who can spin a pop standard into a deeply personalized musical statement. The artist's broad musical vernacular serves as a rock-solid foundation, enhanced by his enviable technical faculties. Nonetheless, Broom's longtime gig at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston, Illinois looms as just one anecdote within a rather distinguished career, hearkening back to his days in New York.
Broom's upbeat mode of operation is supplanted by his rhythm section's buoyant sense of swing and pumping rock/funk grooves. On pieces such as "Where Is the Love," the leader quietly reformulates the primary, pop-soul melody line with vocal-like attributes amid animated single note flurries and contrapuntal motifs. In various areas, the trio sports a funky-edge, to complement a few brisk shifts in strategy designed upon bop and swing. One of my favorites is Broom's rendition of the Glen Campbell hit, "Wichita Lineman." Here, he sentimentalizes the piece via a dreamlike and ethereal rendering of the primary theme atop a breezy Latin groove, honed down by drummer Kobie Watkins' snappy rim-shots. Then on "You and the Night and the Music," bassist Dennis Carroll lays down a booming rock/funk pulse, as the band subsequently launches into a crisp swing vamp featuring Broom's swiftly exercised phrasings. No doubt, the guitarist is at the top of his game throughout this wonderful follow-up to the 2001 standards-based album titled, "Stand."