Bobby Broom
"Song and Dance"

(Origin Records)
Song and Dance

Review by Brad Walseth

Bobby Broom is a traditionally grounded guitarist in the vein of Wes Montgomery, early George Benson and Grant Green. Originally from New York, Broom has made his home in Chicago since the mid-80s and has developed a considerable following from live gigs with his trio, as well as the Deep Blue Organ Trio and many others. He has worked with Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Kenny Burrell, Dave Grusin, Hugh Masakela, Tom Browne, Stanley Turrentine, Charles Earland and Dr. John. Broom is currently a member of Sonny Rollins' group and has had a long association with the tenor great. Not unlike his mentor Rollins, one of Broom's trademarks is the desire and ability to work with pop oriented material - molding seemingly lightweight tunes into intelligent and sensitive jazz renditions.

On "Song and Dance," Broom continues this trend by converting such fare as the theme from the Little Rascals and Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman" into tasty jazz workouts. He is aided in this endeavor by cohorts Dennis Carroll on bass and Kobie Watkins on drums. Carroll has worked with Broom for many years and their interplay suggests they have a well-earned compatibilty. The bassist's lines are subtle and deserving of notice, while drummer Watkins has a unique feel and pleasing rhythmic take.

The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love," the R&B chestnut "Where is the Love? (done in 3/4 time), Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," "You the Night and Music" and Leon Russell's "Superstar" (a big hit for The Carpenters) are all given the Broom metamorphosis, and the result is some tasteful and highly personal mainstream jazz excursions. Nor is this a recording of covers: Some of the highlights include Broom originals like "Coming Home," "Blues for the Modern Man" and "Waiting and Waiting." A true trio recording in that Watkins and Carroll contributions are essential elements in the overall flavor - "Song and Dance" is an engaging recording of a talented guitarist and his group often weaving pure jazz out of the fabric of popular music.

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