Sonny Rollins and Bobby Broom are long standing collaborators having worked together in the great saxophonist's band going on thirty years now. The guitarist has nurtured an increasingly fruitful solo career for himself‚ the latest product of which is squarely in the great jazz tradition of "Newk" himself‚ whose initial offering in a series of concert releases bodes well for the archive project.
The increasingly esteemed Broom does as much for Thelonious Monk's legacy as his own instrumental reputation with his latest record. Working with just a trio consisting of bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins‚ he turns the idiosyncratic compositions of the famous pianist into accessible pieces of modern jazz listening. Who'd ever think "Bemsha Swing" would be comparable to the appropriate conclusion here‚ the Jerome Kern standard "Smoke Gets in your Eyes"? Still Broom and Co. don't dumb down the likes of "Rhythm-a-ning:" they avoid over-simplifying the arrangements or over-complicating their playing‚ so that Plays for Monk (Origin Records) functions simultaneously as an ideal introduction to Bobby Broom and Thelonious Monk.
Because his sax playing is brisk and vigorous throughout the seven tracks on this live compilation‚ it's no disrespect to Sonny Rollins himself to declare that guitarist Bobby Broom and the redoubtable bassist Christian McBride shine on Road Shows Vol. 1 (Doxy Records). Still‚ it's actually trombonist/producer Clifton Anderson who may deserve the deepest kudos for the way his horn playing provides cool contrast to the heated improvising of Rollins himself. Well-deserved credit too should be assigned mastering engineer Mark Wilder because he maintains uniformly clean‚ clear and uncluttered sound on recordings that span twenty years dating back to the mid-eighties. Listening to this disc it's possible to be transported to sitting on the stage in the middle of the action of this band‚ which‚ at various times‚ is peopled with illustrious names like Roy Haynes as well as stalwarts of Sonny Rollins' like pianist Mark Soskin.
Music lovers know that good musicians attract good musicians‚ so it's no surprise the connection between Sonny Rollins and Bobby Broom extends even beyond their own mutually inspirational pairing.
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