For Bobby Broom's third CD for Origin Records, he has chosen to tackle the iconic Thelonious Monk, in a guitar trio setting. The CD song list is made up of eight Monk compositions and two standards - Lulu's Back in Town, and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - that were an occasional part of Monk's repertoire.
Broom's simpatico with his trio has been built up from years of playing with Carroll and Watkins. Watkins can up the ante and inspire Bobby when needed and Carroll is always right there rock steady. I dug Watkins' cymbal work on Evidence, as Bobby lays back a bit when Kobie and Dennis communicate together; then Bobby steps back in with single note phrases. Ruby, My Dear is done as a gorgeous ballad. I felt a late night vibe listening to this track, imagining just a few people in a jazz club nursing their drinks and drinking in the mellowness.
In Walked Bud is blues-driven, and here clearly Bobby steps up. There is a restless energy that brings a charge to this track and Watkins contributes to this mood. Lulu's Back in Town has a funky head-nodding quality as the groove that the trio brings is relaxed yet swinging. Carroll shines in his solo and Josh Richter has him mixed just right.
Reflections is handled tenderly with the knowing touch that Bobby has. You find yourself concentrating on the guitar solo, as Carroll's soft touch caressing his bass strings, balances its understated intensity.
On Rhythm-a-ning the trio digs in and here I felt Monk's spirit reaching out, as the concentration this track demands settles over you. A classy closure is provided by Bobby's solo rendition of Jerome Kern's Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and a fitting ending to Broom's honoring the uniqueness that Monk brought to the table. As the saying goes, "Monk Lives" - on this CD it's in Bobby Broom's nimble fingers.