Chicago Loves Bobby Broom


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By Don Howze

When it comes to jazz, Bobby Broom is the quintessential jazz guitarist and composer. Like Wynton Marsalis, Broom stands true to the history and culture of the founding pioneers of the jazz genre.

Broom's style of performing with the same delicate strumming and interpretation made popular by legendary jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Les Paul, has made him one of Chicago's favorite artists.

Born in Harlem, raised on New York City's Upper West Side and later becoming a seasoned performer and music educator in Chicago, Broom has embraced his musical experiences from two of the top urban cities nurturing the original jazz sound.

Sonny Rollins, the great tenor saxophonist who Broom played for twelve years during the period of 1982 to 1987 and 2005 to 2010, told DownBeat Magazine that, “Bobby is one of my favorite musicians. He explains why I like the guitar. He's got a strong musical sixth sense."

Thirty years into his distinguished, wide-ranging career in jazz, Bobby Broom is relishing in a style that personifies his own perspective in his musical journey. As a 16 year old prodigy attending New York's High School of Music and Art, Broom performed several nights a week with Charlie Parker's pianists Al Haig and Walter Bishop, Jr..

In 1977, Broom played at Carnegie Hall in a concert with Sonny Rollins and special guest ((Donald Byrd}}. Today, at 53 years of age, Bobby has received the respect and admiration from jazz greats and critics.

“Broom has one of the few truly recognizable styles among modern guitarists, and one of the most satisfying solo concepts in mainstream jazz," wrote critic Neil Tesser in the Chicago Jazz Music Examiner. “Every modern jazz guitarist in Chicago is indebted to Bobby Broom," wrote guitarist Jeff Parker.

Broom's latest album, Upper West Side Story (Origin Records, 2012), features his first all-original compositions which he describes as 'an ode to where I'm from.'

“I've made ten records in the past ten years and each one of them is an offering," said Broom. “They're all part of the ongoing process of creating music. But I purposely waited to make a record of all originals ."

As part of Chicago's Black History Vintage Video Series, here's a video clip of Bobby Broom, performing with his trio in Chicago (circa 1980's). During this time, he had just relocated from New York to Chicago to tour and record with many of his mentors.

Chicago's Black History Vintage Video Series, presented by Classic Soul Music Hits, is a weekly series featured this February to commemorate Black History Month. Exclusive and rarely seen videos will be featured to enlighten viewers of the early accomplishments of Chicago's most notable African American talents.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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