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Chops: Duck Baker and Bobby Broom on Thelonious Monk

Two guitarists take the extraordinary pianist and composer’s music to the guitar

Guitarist Bobby Broom who did an album of the music of Thelonious Monk in 2009 (photo by Todd Winters)
Guitarist Bobby Broom (photo by Todd Winters)

Bobby Broom’s 2009 Thelonious Monk tribute album, Bobby Broom Plays for Monk (Origin), almost didn’t happen. Prior to going into the studio, the Chicago-based guitarist convened his trio to test out the concept. After hitting on a New Orleans-flavored arrangement of “Bemsha Swing” that felt right, bassist Dennis Carroll suggested that the tune sounded like something John Scofield might do, so Broom ran to the computer.

“I searched ‘Sco’ and ‘Bemsha Swing’ and didn’t find anything,” Broom recalls. “But I found a whole Peter Bernstein Monk record, and when I checked iTunes I realized it had been released that day!” Broom almost canceled his tribute on the spot, but a quick listen to a few of the tracks from Bernstein’s Monk (Xanadu) assured him that his arrangements were different enough to proceed.

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Originally Published

Shaun Brady

Shaun Brady is a Philadelphia-based journalist who covers jazz along with an eclectic array of arts, culture, and travel. Brady contributes regularly to the Philadelphia Inquirer and JazzTimes and Jazziz magazines, with subjects ranging from legendary artists to underground experimentalists. His byline has appeared in DownBeat, Metro, NPR Music, and The A.V. Club, among other outlets. He studied filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago and continues to spend too much time in the dark.