It’s not as though guitarist Bobby Broom hasn’t had meaningful encounters with pianists during his long and distinguished career. Still in his teens, the Harlem native got his startas a performing artist playing clubs with Charlie Parker alumni Al Haig and Walter Bishop, Jr. Dave Grusin contributed keyboardsto (and produced) Broom’s first two albums. And James Williams was instrumental in advancing his career, while Dr. John provided six years of meaningful employment. Then there were Chicago greats Willie Pickens, Jodie Christian, Earma Thompson, and Ramsey Lewis, who all supported him through the years.
But it had been many years leading up to his revelatory new album, Keyed Up – a tribute to great pianists featuring a future great in Justin Dillard—that Broom hooked up with a keyboardist on one of his recordings. Having established himself as one of the day’s great guitarists in bass and drum trio settings, why did he expand to a quartet this time around?
“I heard something intriguing in Justin that made me want to work with him,” says Broom, recalling a Sunday night jam he led featuring Dillard, a spirited piano improviser, also heard here on his “laptop Swurlitzer,” which can sound like a combined Wurlitz erelectric piano and B-3 organ. “It was a bit risky because I hadn’t played with him in such an intimate and crucial setting before we made this record. But it didn’t take long for me to know I had made the right choice.”
Broom had been sitting on the idea to record an album of compositions by pianists since Dennis Carroll, his longtime bassist and trusty musical consultant, suggested doing some Bud Powell tunes a few years earlier. Though the idea took a while to gestate, Broom’s desire to play with Dillard gave him the impetus to make the piano-tribute concept a reality.
Release Date: September 23, 2022
1. Hallucinations (aka Budo)
2. Second Thoughts
3. Humpty Dumpty
4. Soulful Bill
8. Blues On The Corner (Take 2)
10. Blues On The Corner (Take 1)
Bobby Broom – Guitar, Producer
Justin Dillard – Piano and Hammond SKX
Dennis Carroll – Bass
Kobie Watkins – Drums, Co-producer