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May 2007

Bobby Broom
Song and Dance
Origin Records

Lennon and McCartney, Leon Russell, Jimmy Webb—don’t let the fine print fool you. For all its ties to contemporary pop tunesmiths, Song and Dance aims to please mainstream jazz fans who are open to fresh and often surprising interpretations, among other pleasures.

That much is evident from the outset when veteran guitarist Bobby Broom and his trio mates—bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins—open this 10-track collection with a harmonically hip and rhythmically vibrant arrangement of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” complete with a nod and wink to John Coltrane. Broom’s chordal voicings sometimes suggest the presence of a Hammond B3 organist, and certainly Carroll and Watkins have no difficulty conjuring images of an open-ended, late-night jam before the tune fades. Likewise, the other pop hits here, whether boomer tropes (“Where Is the Love?” “Wichita Lineman,” “Superstar”) or vintage classics (“Smile” and “You and the Night and the Music”), benefit from Broom’s harmonic finesse or his unmistakable affinity for blues, swing and Latin grooves. Echoes of Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Grant Green are detectable, and a restless, bop-fueled spirit prevails when Broom and company unearth Leroy Shield’s “Good Old Days,” the Little Rascals theme song.

Broom doesn’t always look to other writers for inspiration, however. He performs three of his own compositions, including a swift, sleek and stirring arrangement of “Blues for Modern Man.” And when it comes to romantic allure, nothing rivals his new take on “Waiting and Waiting,” a ballad that slowly and soulfully unfurls in 3/4 time.

Originally published in May 2007
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