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Bobby Broom Plays for Monk

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Album Review

How to play the compositions of Thelonious Monk is always a slightly awkward question, even — maybe especially — for those musicians who love and admire him the most. His apparently awkward piano style was so much a part of his strangely convoluted and rhythmically challenging compositions that to play his music in what seems like a faithful and respectful style is to run the risk of sounding like a parodic imitator. Guitarist Bobby Broom is at less of a disadvantage than his piano-playing colleagues in this regard, because of the distance automatically granted him by his instrument. He makes sly reference to this fact on the cover of this delightful album, which is designed to mimic the cover art of Monk's classic album Monk's Music — except instead of Monk himself sitting in the little red wagon, it's Broom's guitar. That allusiveness and gentle wit are everywhere present in his arrangements, and his playing as well: particularly in the elegant, almost offhandedly precise way he dances through "Work," one of Monk's knottiest compositions, and on his proud and stately rendition of "Ruby, My Dear," which is one of Monk's sweetest and loveliest. "Ask Me Now" starts off sounding just a bit awkward but then quickly falls into place; Broom's take on "Evidence" is one of the most powerful on the album, a tense and rigid head followed by a resolutely swinging solo. Bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins give Broom both the support and the space he needs to create a warm and wonderful tribute to one of America's finest composers.


Born: 18 January 1961 in New York, NY [Harlem]

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Credited as "an articulate and compelling soloist who has developed his own voice within the tradition of Montgomery, Burrell, etc.," jazz guitarist Bobby Broom was born on January 18, 1961, and raised in New York City. Introduced to jazz at early age (via Charles Earland's 1971 Black Talk), Broom took up the guitar shortly thereafter, resulting in playing in off-Broadway productions, gigs with Charlie Parker alumni/pianists Al Haig and Walter Bishop, Jr., and an invitation to join Sonny Rollins'...
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Bobby Broom Plays for Monk, Bobby Broom
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