Monday, January 31, 2011

Bobby Broom's Guitar Meets The Music Of Thelonious Monk

Having spent the past few years in Sonny Rollins Band, guitarist Bobby Broom certainly had a certainly pronounced visibility. It was his second stint with the jazz titan, and certainly establishes his credentials as a musician. He has a recent (2009) trio album as a leader “Bobby Broom Plays For Monk” (Origin Records) where he is joined by Rollins drummer, Kobie Watkins and bassist Dennis Carroll. As the title in dictates, this album is devoted to the music of Thelonious Monk with renditions of eight Monk compositions and two numbers that Broom associates with Monk. This Monk tribute album even has the cover art as a take-off on the cover of the classic album, “Monk’s Mood.”

This is an album that it pays to listen to attentively and appreciate how beautifully recorded it is and some of the subtleties in the performance and the interaction between the three. Broom plays pretty straight here without any feedback or other guitar effects. Broom’s approach to Monk’s music is with an ear to the melodies and the performances likely will not appeal for those looking for high energy guitar. This approach works best with certain of Monk’s melodies like “Ruby, My Dear,” where his deliberate use of chords and single notes runs heightens the beauty of Monk’s music. Broom will quote other songs in his solos like “Chicago, Chicago” during “In Walked Bud.” He softly comps behind bassist Carroll on the latter solos while Watkins keeps the steady pulse. “Lulu’s Back In Town” is as good a
n example of his tone and their is some trading of fours with Watkins. Most of the compositions, such as “Bemsha Swing,” and “Evidence," should be familiar to many and the least familiar composition by Monk on this is Work,” with some intricate playing. “Work” is followed by a lively rendition of “Rhythm-a-ning.” The album concludes with Bobby solo on "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."

This is a splendid, thoughtful treatment of Monk’s music by guitarist Broom and his trio Bobby Broom is performing as part of the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival just outside of Washington, DC during President’s Day weekend and I look forward to catching his performance at that event.

Bobby Broom has discussed Monk's music on a short video which the Jazz Video Guy has uploaded on youtube.

I purchased this CD.

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