Sonny Rollins and Bobby Broom are long standing collaborators having worked together in the great saxophonist's band going on thirty years now. The guitarist has nurtured an increasingly fruitful solo career for himself? the latest product of which is squarely in the great jazz tradition of "Newk" himself? whose initial offering in a series of concert releases bodes well for the archive project.
The increasingly esteemed Broom does as much for Thelonious Monk's legacy as his own instrumental reputation with his latest record. Working with just a trio consisting of bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins? he turns the idiosyncratic compositions of the famous pianist into accessible pieces of modern jazz listening. Who'd ever think "Bemsha Swing" would be comparable to the appropriate conclusion here? the Jerome Kern standard "Smoke Gets in your Eyes"? Still Broom and Co. don't dumb down the likes of "Rhythm-a-ning:" they avoid over-simplifying the arrangements or over-complicating their playing? so that Plays for Monk (Origin Records) functions simultaneously as an ideal introduction to Bobby Broom and Thelonious Monk.