All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Interviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

884

Bobby Broom: Swept Away by the Music

Cicily Janus By

Sign in to view read count
When I hear music I want to feel like I did early on where I was captivated and taken away.
Bobby Broom is a veteran jazz guitarist, originally from New York City and currently operating from the Chicago jazz scene. He's been the staple side dish of soul and jazz for over thirteen years at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in Evanston, IL. He's also busy performing regularly—not only Chi-town, but throughout the world with his own groups, the Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio, and with saxophone icon Sonny Rollins. But Plays for Monk (Origin, 2009) is a true standout among his many accolades. Alongside bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins, Broom displays a craft that is based in rich character, deep grooves and the true spirit of this music.

Bobby Broom



Although guitar was never featured on Thelonious Monk's recordings, Broom's sheer love of his music and personable approach make this a recording for any Monk or Bobby Broom fan. Broom's choice of repertoire is intriguing, as it isn't material traditionally covered from Monk's book.

All About Jazz: Tell me about your newest recording, Plays for Monk. What fueled your decision to put out a tribute CD, when there are already so many out there?

Bobby Broom: In a broad sense I think this is a tribute to one of the greatest figures in jazz. We're dealing with his musicianship and his musical personality, his persona and image... Monk's got the whole package. He was one of the greatest iconic figures in this music. When I think about the jazz image, he's one of the guys that come to mind. I think of Miles Davis and Sonny, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, etc. I think of people with personalities that pan out to their music and Monk is the thread.

Also, his contributions, both compositionally and as a soloist, were so different yet so immediate for his time. These are things that are very striking and lasting for all of us. Earlier on, I had thought about doing a solo guitar record of all Monk tunes but that seemed too odd and hefty an endeavor, and was not what I needed to be doing. I'm trying to develop myself and this group to get more recognition and visibility, and that wasn't going to be the way to go about it. In thinking about his music further I began to realize that I needed to do a Monk record with tunes that suit me and what he represents to me. This way I could represent my vision of him to listeners. It was quite a process to find tunes that were the right fit, not to mention I was keeping my group in mind and how we sound and go about our music.

AAJ: Once you finally decided on doing a Monk tribute, what was your process of going from idea to recording?

BB: I immersed myself in his music and tried to pick the right things for me. I picked a couple of tunes that he didn't write but that I associated with him, especially "Lulu's Back in Town." I wasn't one hundred percent sure about the idea of doing his music, even up to the day of the first rehearsal. I was having second thoughts about whether it was too contrived an idea, or whether it was going to come across right. They were just ideas, at the time, about possibilities. I kept second-guessing myself until the first rehearsal. Once that was over I realized these decisions were fine and we began to embrace the music, eventually making it sound like us.

Bobby BroomAAJ: How does the dynamic of your group differ onstage in your regular gig than it does when you're in a studio?

BB: The studio is obviously a controlled environment and the stage is not. You have to take what you get in the live environment, and often, success requires a certain amount of familiarity. You have to be familiar with the people you're playing with and hopefully the chemistry and synchronicity come together. With that simpatico going on you can work well together.

Having recorded this music as a group, when we get together live, we know how we want it to sound and what we have to do to recreate that feeling. I guess it's not necessarily recreating it but living up to that recording in a live performance and feeling good about what it is we're doing. We got good results in the studio for this record. We felt comfortable and most of the tracks are first or second takes. This time around being in the studio was a relaxed and relatively leisurely environment. That's not always the case, but we were fortunate and as a result it was fairly easy to produce results that we were happy with.

AAJ: Ideally, if you could reach out to your listeners with this music, what is it that you want them to hear?

BB: I want them to hear the feelings I have inside, that's what this music is about for me. I want them to hear it and know it's me. This is hopefully happening more and more when people listen to me. I'm going to keep working to try to fulfill that. I guess we all want to have a sound that's recognizable. We all have this, but a large part of this is producing enough of a body of work, and making that work interesting enough to keep people's attention over a period of time. It's not easy to do this, but this is what I try for.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Call Me a Cab

Call Me a Cab

Bobby Broom
Upper West Side Story

Blues For Modern Man

Blues For Modern Man

Bobby Broom
Song and Dance

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Megaphone
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
My Shining Hour

My Shining Hour

Origin Records
2014

buy
Upper Westside Story

Upper Westside Story

Origin Records
2012

buy
Plays for Monk

Plays for Monk

Origin Records
2009

buy
The Way I Play

The Way I Play

Origin Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Tomasz Stanko: Lyricism and Liberation Interviews
Tomasz Stanko: Lyricism and Liberation
by John Kelman
Published: July 30, 2018
Read Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota Interviews
Hal Willner's Rock 'n' Rota
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: July 26, 2018
Read Making The John Coltrane Jazz Festival in High Point Interviews
Making The John Coltrane Jazz Festival in High Point
by La-Faithia White
Published: July 21, 2018
Read George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz Interviews
George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz
by Doug Hall
Published: July 19, 2018
Read Sidney Hauser:  Justice and Jubilation Interviews
Sidney Hauser: Justice and Jubilation
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Michael Leonhart: Surfing on an Orchestral Wave Interviews
Michael Leonhart: Surfing on an Orchestral Wave
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Andreas Varady: Guitar Wizard On The Rise" Interviews Andreas Varady: Guitar Wizard On The Rise
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Mica Bethea: Quintessential Band Geek" Interviews Mica Bethea: Quintessential Band Geek
by Barbara Salter Nelson
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Satoko Fujii: the Gift of Music" Interviews Satoko Fujii: the Gift of Music
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character" Interviews Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: January 23, 2018