A collection of nine standards is the latest album by guitarist Bobby Broom. But this is not your typical standard fare – there is a Frederick Loewe song that hasn’t been recorded very often (“The Heather On The Hill”) and all of the tracks come to life by the shining arrangements for his trio which includes Dennis Carroll on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums.
Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen were responsible for recording his first album “Clean Sweep” back in 1981 where he also sang (the LP is a great Soul/Jazz collection featuring a young Marcus Miller, Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim, and Poogie Bell and was released on CD in 2010) and since then, he has recorded a lot of great stuff and abandoned his singing. His guitar playing can be heard best in this configuration, even though there were some fantastic recordings, with Hammond B-3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber for example (“Modern Man”, 2001). Broom has always had a knack for recording Pop/Soul songs on his albums (Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Eric Clapton), so it is a nice feat now to hear him play in this particular setting.
And Broom is shaping these standards into little gems, playing around with chords, single notes, and tempo in a very lively “Just One Of Those Things” (which also has some great moments by McCraven) or building tension with “My Shining Hour” where he actually starts with the verse right away and adds colors and nuances to it while bass and drums play vigorously behind him. In the liner notes, he states that he learned the afore-mentioned “The Heather On The Hill” while working in the band of Sonny Rollins for ten years. In fact, he played some great solos on the saxophonist’s “No Problem” and “Reel Life” albums from 1982 (check out the mesmerizing “Best Wishes” from the latter). His playing here is simply beautiful, his solos aptly built.
On “Sweet Georgia Brown”, there are hints of Jim Hall‘s clarity. On “The Jitterbug Waltz”, the bass at the beginning is wicked and the song unfolds as a real burner. Patti Page‘s “The Tennessee Waltz” brings this album to a pristine end. The crystalline sound is due to the fact that the album was recorded live in the studio, with only a stereo mike in the center and spot mikes and the musicians being close together with no headphones.Follow: