Covering post-'60s pop hits has tripped up more than a few jazz artists, including "New Standards" man Herbie Hancock. There just isn't enough harmonic interest in most of these songs to lend themselves to open improvising. But Bobby Broom has figured out how to make this stuff hum.
On "Song and Dance," the veteran Chicago guitarist, known for his work with Sonny Rollins and Green Mill regulars the Deep Blue Organ Trio, strips down to a conventional trio to cut to the heart of tunes like "Where Is the Love?" and "Can't Buy Me Love." With the finely attuned support of bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins, he breaks free of the melodies, using his full-bodied tone to add cumulative weight and his always lively harmonic sense to take the music in unexpected directions.
On a magnetic, meditative reading of "Superstar," Broom isn't afraid to hide the melody. On "Wichita Lineman," he isn't afraid to string it out to such an extent that it takes on the quality of a free jazz incantation. Broom has covered pop hits on previous albums, but this is a high water mark for him and the form.