Bobby Broom Trio at Jazz Showcase | Concert preview
The Deep Blue Organ Trio guitarist gets personal.
Bobby Broom’s most reliable gig is at the Green Mill, where he’s held the guitar chair in the Deep Blue Organ Trio since 2000, floating soulful voicings over Chris Foreman’s soothing organ. For years you could also find Broom working out his own trio’s songbook at Pete Miller’s in Evanston. Maybe not the place you’d expect to encounter someone whose résumé includes stints with Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis, yet it speaks to the modesty of the local scene that one of its best jazz guitarists served up sweet licks where surf and turf is the main attraction.
The New York native held the engagement for nearly 15 years, which left him plenty of time to amass a robust repertoire of covers and standards. It also explains how he’s been so prolific, releasing ten albums in as many years, sprinkling the occasional self-penned tune among carefully selected standards and covers. That makes the new Upper West Side Story somewhat of a breakthrough, a nine-song salute to his hometown solely comprised of originals. The title track foregrounds his pointillist guitar and gentle yet propulsive strumming over pulsating ride cymbal and pivoting bass. Chords spill out in unexpected yet easy-swinging phrases, much of it airy but by no means placid. Broom’s effortless and elegantly floating fretwork speaks to his inventive sense of harmony.
This four-night stand at the Jazz Showcase is notable for a couple of reasons, not least that it marks the group’s debut there. More important, it heralds Broom’s arrival as a songwriter, though many Pete Miller’s regulars already knew that.