Guitarist Bobby Broom has been recording since the late 1970s. As sideman, he recorded with such leaders as Sonny Rollins, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, Dizzy Gillespie, and David Murray. He led sessions for Criss Cross, Delmark, and Premonition. He is one of the founders of the Deep Blue Organ Trio. Despite these associations, he is less well known than he should be.
His current trio, with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins, is tight, though Broom is the dominant player. Favoring single-note playing and the middle and lower registers, he possesses an individual, attractive, and easily-identifiable sound. His group plays an equal number of jazz standards (Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," Rollins's "Airegin," Sam Jones's "Unit 7," and McCoy Tuner's "Inception") and popular tunes ("Strike Up the Band," "Fly Me to the Moon," "Body and Soul," and "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top"). Each performance is worth hearing.
Recording a live performance is risky. Through applause, attentiveness, and gestures, an audience can inspire musicians. Customers can, however, converse and otherwise create noise that distracts musicians and makes listening to the recording difficult. While the music Broom, Carroll, and Watkins create strikes me as inspired, a constant din accompanies their music. Clearly, some members of the audience at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston, Illinois, cared little about the music, which was their loss. Noise is especially bothersome during Broom's sensitive, unaccompanied melodic statement on "Fly Me to the Moon."
Despite the problem I identify, "The Way I Play" is well worth hearing. Broom is a significant guitarist, as indicated by the music on this release that will be available on April 22.