It's a shame so few musicians work in actual bands anymore; the kind of unit where the musicians stay the same from not only gig to gig, but year to year. Only through such long standing musical associations can shared concepts become created, but also explored. That is the case with guitarist Bobby Broom's band. He, bassist Dennis Carroll, and drummer Kobie Watkins, have crafted a unique working environment where all musical possibilities are free to occur, and be played out through their many variants.
In this 2007 live recording made in Evanston, IL at Pete Miller's Steakhouse, the group tears through eight jazz standards. An example of how Broom's group works will help to understand how the band sounds live.
Broom, for example, pays homage to his former bandleader, Sonny Rollins, by playing an especially intriguing arrangement of the saxophonist's "Airegin." After the head, Broom begins his solo by playing a series of off-kilter motivic fragments. Following these, he starts to smooth things out by playing longer and longer lines of standard improvisation that eventually work those initial fragmentary ideas back into the solo at later points. This leads to a half-time bass solo where ensemble interplay is the standard. Together, all three musicians join in to create a series of musical episodes; whether they are playing descending and varied rhythmic lines together (obviously something that can only be achieved from much time spent together), or almost stop-time pauses. The group makes Carroll's solo its own work of art and as beautifully far from "playing over the changes" as one can get.
Next up is a series of truly hot, up-tempo trading of fours between Broom and Watkins. There is really no way to describe the excitement as the soloists trade ideas and concepts back and forth, gracefully and continuingly embellishing along the way. The rousing head finale completes the journey perfectly.
The rest of the entire disc consists of similarly excited and inspired music. This is easily Broom's best disc as a leader and definitely one not to be missed.