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Overdue Ovation for Alan Broadbent

The art of doing it all

Alan Broadbent
Alan Broadbent
Alan Broadbent, Detroit Jazz Festival 2014

At the beginning of our conversation, over coffee and donuts at a diner in Tarrytown, N.Y., pianist Alan Broadbent corrects me. When I bring up the fact that he put out two “records” in 2014-a big-band date called America the Beautiful (Jan Matthies) and a live solo-piano set on vinyl titled Just One of Those Things (Edition Longplay)-he says, “One’s a record.”

More than semantics, it’s a reminder that Broadbent, now 67 and a resident of New York State since 2011, after almost 40 years in Los Angeles, has been around the block. Since moving to the U.S. in 1966 from his native New Zealand, he’s worked with the likes of Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle, Johnny Mandel, Bud Shank, Lee Konitz and the late Charlie Haden, whose Quartet West included the pianist for the entirety of its three-decade run. And “pianist” is merely one of the hats he dons: Broadbent has conducted for orchestral projects by Natalie Cole and Diana Krall, and he has arranged for several of the aforementioned artists as well as Barbra Streisand and Paul McCartney, among many others. Having a diverse set of talents is something of a requirement for today’s musician, but Broadbent has been stoking a variety of fires since the ’60s.

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