Bobby Broom has been a featured sideman for several jazz legends, including Miles Davis and Stanley Turrentine, and he's come into the spotlight recently as a member of Sonny Rollins' band. But the guitarist has also periodically recorded as a leader for more than 25 years. For his sixth disc, Broom shows why his subtle, articulate approach has long been in demand among jazz's heaviest hitters.
Broom's pure tone and fluid style are squarely in line with the soul jazz guitar masters of the '60s, but that's not to say he's content with being a throwback. Broom's work is full of surprises, both in his approach and choice of material. He adds a healthy dose of funk to "You and the Night and the Music," with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins locking into a groove that provides enough of an edge to make a well-worn standard sound fresh.
Broom recasts Charlie Chaplin's ever-familiar "Smile" as a hard-swinging blues, and he takes the '60s country hit "Wichita Lineman" out for a soulful spin. But the least expected track is "Good Old Days," better known as the theme to the "Little Rascals" television program. The nostalgic melody soon gives way to a free section that lets Broom suggest the tune while twisting his way through its outer reaches.
Broom contributes three solid compositions of his own among the 10 tracks, although two of them ? "Blues for Modern Man" and "Waiting and Waiting" ? are reworkings of earlier recordings.
Always solid as a supporting player, Broom shows he's perfectly at home in the lead role as well.