Tuesday, May 26th @ 8PM (EST) – Bobby will be live streaming for Blue Note at Home, a weekly live concert series presented by Blue Note New York, is now streaming shows daily. Featuring artists such as Bob James, Monty Alexander, Nicholas Payton, Bobby Broom, Joey Alexander and more, Blue Note at Home aims to reconnect the Blue Note jazz community while we are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Each set will be broadcast live from the Blue Note New York Instagram (@bluenotenyc) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/bluenotenyc) pages.
Posts by :
The Jazz Foundation of America is a charitable organization committed to “saving blues, jazz and roots, one musician at a time.” On Thursday, May 14, the JFA will enter the livestream realm to further this mission through an all-star online benefit dubbed #TheNewGig. Keegan-Michael Key will host the event, which will raise money for the Foundation’s COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund designed “to help musicians and families affected by the pandemic by covering basic living expenses.”
#TheNewGig will feature appearances by Jon Batiste, Bettye LaVette, Robert Cray, Shemekia Copland, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Ivan Neville, Angelique Kidjo, Dee Dee Bridgewater and many others. The night also will include archival performances from the Foundation’s annual fundraiser A Great Night in Harlem, with Sonny Rollins, Brittany Howard, Herbie Hancock, Donald Fagen and Patti Smith, among the participants.
Steve Jordan will run point on Thursday as the #TheNewGig’s event’s musical director. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of the JFA alongside his wife (and fellow bandmate in The Verbs) Meegan Voss.
Can you talk about the scope of the Foundation and the range of musicians who are assisted by it.
We work with a wide range of musicians, not just jazz and blues musicians, but musicians of all ilk because as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington both said, “There’s only two kinds of music: good music and bad music.” Most musicians worth their weight can play most anything as long as it comes from the heart and soul.
The Foundation itself takes care of a wide range of people. We create jobs through the Gig Fund, which is a program in which we actually give money to players who are in need by creating jobs for them to play. We have another grant for musicians who play for people in hospitals and nursing homes. We have another program called Jazz and Blues in the Schools, where musicians go to schools to teach kids who have never heard jazz and blues before and get an appreciation of it. We’ve done that in New Orleans, New York, all over the country—it’s a fantastic program. So there’s a wide range of initiatives that we have in place that create jobs for musicians and have an educational message.
What led to your involvement with the organization?
I was putting on a concert that was supposed to be a birthday celebration for Hubert Sumlin’s 80th birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away about a month and a half before he turned 80, so we thought we would turn the birthday party into a celebration of his life. It was supposed to be underwritten by another foundation but that foundation did not have a license to have a fundraiser in the state of New York.
That’s when I was told about the Jazz Foundation of America, which I had never heard of. When I started to find out more about the Foundation, I thought. “Wow, this is the best kept secret in America.” I was amazed by all the programs that they had implemented and all the people that they helped through the years—people like Abbey Lincoln, Odetta and Clark Terry. There are also a lot of people they take care of that the public doesn’t know about because of the wonderful discretion that they have about keeping people’s business private.
So I decided to work with them on this particular program. The Jazz Foundation underwrote it and we had an incredible show. It was with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall. You name it, everyone was on it. It was a bang up show. It’s always great to throw a show at the Apollo Theater and we also were able to get in touch with some of the players who played on some of the original Howlin’ Wolf stuff. So we had people from Chicago and friends of Hubert, that was the main thing. We put together an all-star band and it was just a wonderful evening. We raised over $1 million that night.
A little while later I went to an event where I saw a very close friend of mine, a person I considered my brother. He had developed cancer and it obviously had curtailed his work. I had been wondering how he was managing but he was very private about so I didn’t want to pry. Then I learned that the Jazz Foundation was sustaining him and that to me was incredible because they didn’t let on that they were doing it. I thought that was pretty amazing because most organizations of this caliber like to advertise who they’re taking care of. It’s completely the opposite with this foundation.
So that was the thing that really attracted me and I talked to Meegan about doing some more work with the Foundation. We have a lot of friends who are either getting up in age or have fallen on hard times because the music business is so volatile. The Foundation has been able to help people in need—there’s not a lot of red tape with this organization so people get help pretty quickly. That’s important as well.
Another thing that attracted me to the Foundation is all the good people who are part of it, like Richard Parsons, the chairman, Wendy Oxenhorn, the longtime executive director, Joe Petrucelli, the new executive director and Jarrett Lillian, our president. So you have a real family type of vibe and the social workers are great—Alisa Hafkin, Melaney Mashburn and Will Glass. That also makes it fun to work in this environment.
The Jazz Foundation of America hosts its annual “A Great Night in Harlem” fundraising gala every spring. What is that state of the gala? Will this livestream take place in lieu of it for 2020 or complement it?
This is a completely separate event to deal with the hardships that impact musical communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s going to complement the gala because we’ve postponed it. Our gala was going to be on April 14th where we were going to honor Carlos Santana and Buddy Guy. We’ve rescheduled it for the fall, depending on the reach of the pandemic and whether we’re surging or we’re on the decline. We’ll see. Whatever is safe. We’re not putting people at risk and then we’re going to follow all guidelines.
You’ve served as musical director for numerous live events over the years, including the Foundation gala. How will you approach the livestream?
With a live show you have the ability to run over timewise. Luckily, I’ve been working in television for many years so this is basically like a television show. I have a finite amount of time to work with. You’re in trouble if you don’t have enough content to fill the time and you’re in trouble if you have too much. Right now we’re on the border of having too much, which is a good thing.
We’re putting together a really fine concert which consists of some household names, some people that you’ve never heard of, some up-and-coming people and then some previously in-the-can performances that took place at the Apollo. We filed away those performances for archival purposes, never for television but this is a new frontier, a dire situation. So we decided that we wanted to show the world some of these performances and if it helps us raise more money, then that’s the right thing to do. The musicians have been gracious enough to sign off on that because this is for a good cause, even though some of these people are very particular about their performances. It’s a whole different vibe because when you’re doing a live show and you know that it’s not going to be broadcast in any way, you tend to be a little bit more loose, a little bit more relaxed. Whereas if it’s a television show you’re a little bit more on edge.
So the performances we’re going to share have a different vibe than if it were just a television show. People are a little bit looser and it’s a little bit more fun. This also is going to be a rare thing where you’re getting to see something that otherwise you would have had to be there to see. It’s only going be up for 24 hours and then that’s it.
Can you name a few of the unheralded musicians that people shouldn’t miss?
We have a few kids that we’ve had at previous events—they’ve grown up a little but they’re still kids to me. People like Matthew Whitaker are going to perform. He’s a great piano player and keyboard player, who’s also a great multi-instrumentalist but his main thing is piano and organs. Another kid we’ve been working with for years is Brandon Goldberg. A wonderful singer named Alexis Morrast also will be performing, She’s really fantastic, kind of a prodigy. Those are some of the young ‘uns we have that I think will surprise people.
#TheNewgig will appear on the Relix Channel, which recently streamed the BB King tribute, another event in which you were the musical director. What are your memories of that night?
The Capitol Theatre is a great place to play and what an audience that was. I mean, they were ready to go, couldn’t get enough of the music and it was a wonderful experience. I felt B.B. King in the house that night for sure. It also was great working with Pete [Shapiro] on it. He’s just so enthusiastic about music. That’s what you need and it’s a change of pace. Not all promoters or club owners are that enthusiastic about music, they’re more enthusiastic about the bottom line. So when you have someone like Pete who really loves the music and will do anything for it, that’s a great thing.
That night was a great tribute in front of a loving audience and it was pure fun. I also got to see old friends—one of my favorite moments was being backstage with Buddy Guy, William Bell and Bobby Rush while the three of them were talking to one another and having a good time. I was so happy being in their presence while they were communing. It was fantastic.
I think it’s great that Thursday’s event will be streamed on Relix because it’s going to get this music to a different demographic. It will turn a whole lot of people onto these musicians, so we’re really excited about it.
As NIU and the world around us deals with a global pandemic, artists continue to find ways to express themselves. In the College of Visual and Performing arts the learning and teaching hasn’t stopped, it’s simply evolved to meet the needs and limitations of the situation. Over the coming days, we’ll be featuring how NIU students, alumni and faculty in the arts are continuing to do what they love.
Bobby Broom performed “I’ll Be Seeing You” as part of a “Shelter in Place” concert with fellow NIU School of Music faculty Reggie Thomas and Liam Teague on Facebook Live, March 21, 2020.
Harlem Born, New York City raised, Bobby Broom has been heralded as “one of the most musical guitarists of our time” by jazz historian and author, Ted Gioia. Playing Carnegie Hall with Sonny Rollins and Donald Byrd at age 16, Broom recorded his debut as a leader, “Clean Sweep,” for GRP Records at age 20.
Broom has released 17 recordings in total as a leader. Many have received airplay resulting in national jazz radio chart positions of #1 to #3, resulting in his being recognized as one of the top guitarists by Down Beat magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll in 2015, as well as their Critics Poll for four years, from 2012-2014 and again in 2017.
A dedicated jazz educator throughout his career, Professor Broom holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University.
Since our last interview, he has been doing a bit of everything. Bobby provides JGT with an update.
“I’m deep into my very first semester as Assistant Professor of Jazz Guitar/Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, which is extremely exciting. I’m teaching a bunch of students (12), plus I have a Jazz Improvisation course that I teach. Next semester I’ll add a Music Business course to my load.
During this semester I’ve also been able to get out and about a bit with both of my groups – the Bobby Broom Trio (the guitar-based, bass and drums unit) and the Organi–Sation (the organ-based, guitar trio). About a month ago, the BBT performed at the first-ever, Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival in Arvada, CO (where you and I were able to meet in the flesh!). It was an industry show dedicated exclusively to luthiers of archtop (jazz) guitars, jazz guitar players and fans. I was proud to represent my guitar maker, Danny Koentopp and my amp manufacturer, Peter Henriksen (who produced and hosted), all in one! I have close, long-standing relationships with both of these guys. Then last week, the BBT made a short Midwest run, hitting Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and ending with a jazz guitar festival at a university in Ohio.
Next Month the Organi–Sation will do a couple of dates on the East Coast, in Boston and CT. The BBO just recorded some live material, that I plan to use to supplement some live concert material to release together. I thought it would be interesting to present the group live in contrasting settings – live concert with huge audiences and an intimate club setting. I’m also contemplating another BBT tribute album similar to the one that we did ten years ago for Monk. I’m thinking about another, iconic piano figure. So, 2020 might be one of those years for me that mirrors 2000, when I released two recordings back to back – one organ-based and the other, guitar trio.
It feels great to be vested in by an academic institution that recognizes and encourages my contribution to the field of jazz music and in both of the areas that I’ve been active in and have dedicated my life to – artistic/performance and academic/education.
It’s also great that I’m genuinely supported in my giving back in the form of teaching. Just the other day, I had a young man visit the school who was very familiar with my body of work and was super-excited to be sitting with me. How cool is that??! For him and me!” Bobby Broom
Heralded player and renown educator, it sure does look that way…
Bobby Broom holds a Master’s of Music degree in jazz pedagogy from Northwestern University, and has taught at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, DePaul University, North Park University and Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music. He was recently appointed Assistant Professor of jazz studies and jazz guitar at Northern Illinois University.
He conducts clinics, master classes and lectures nationwide and abroad, is a teaching artist with the Herbie Handcock Institute and has been a Ravinia Jazz Mentor to Chicago Public School students for more than 18 years. Bobby has written guest editorial and instructional pieces for national magazines, DownBeat, Jazz Times and Jazziz. – Bob Bakert, Editor
Pat Metheny cited Broom’s 2007 Song and Dance recording as “one of the best (jazz) guitar trio records ever!”
JGT: You have worked with some of the biggest names in jazz and have built a solid reputation as a headlining leader. How have your experiences working with the luminaries molded and influenced your performance style and music that we witness today?
Well, it’s probably a combination of observing some of the superstars that I’ve worked with, as well as my own personality musically speaking, that makes me tend to want to get up off of the stool and try to connect with both my musicians on stage and my audiences. I seem to become very engaged in the music, in a physical sense, in the music’s creation and I generally approach playing the guitar that way as well. I remember going to see Sonny Rollins play one time years ago when I was a kid and I remember feeling afraid that he was going to explode or implode or something, because he was playing with such physical fire. Everyone has their own way of doing things, but I tend to lean more in that direction. I also find that I need to be in good physical shape in order to get the best out of myself when I play.
JGT: I’d like to ask a little more about the emphasis and importance of your physical conditioning. Please tell us some more about that.
Many years ago, back in 1989, I remember doing an educational exchange program in Dolo, Italy with an early edition of the then, Thelonius Monk institute (currently the Herbie Hancock Institute). I was 28 years old and it was during my early days as a jazz educator. I was teaching alongside jazz legends like Gary Bartz, Curtis Fuller, Walter Bishop, Jr and institute director Paul Jeffrey. Anyway, Gary asked me to go running with him one day. I balked when he told me he was going to run 5 miles, but he convinced me that I could do it and he was correct! Although, I don’t believe I’ve ever done it since!
A few years after that, routine exercise – cardio and moderate weight training mainly with machines – became a regular part of my life. Since then, it has continued to be something that I do. I realized years ago that it was helpful to me for having reserve energy back in the days when I had to play a lot of 3rd sets. Generally, having a familiar place inside to go physically to draw from in terms of stamina and energy is a helpful thing, I find.
As I mentioned, I play with a certain energy and physicality, and I need to feel emboldened to do so effectively or successfully. I can’t imagine trying to approach playing while feeling run-down, or unable to dig deep for the energy that I need. I’ve always associated the physical act of playing as a whole-body experience – my feet, head and/or other limbs are maintaining pulses of the beat, while my fingers deal with subdivisions of those pulses or other juxtaposed rhythms. I have yet to figure out a way to handle all of that while sitting completely still.
JGT: What is your current “voice”? What guitars(s) and amps do you use… backline favorites?
For the past 10 years or so I’ve been using Henriksen amplifiers. I like what they’re doing as far as solid-state goes. My guitar is the Dan Koentopp Chicago and Amp model. He’s a great young luthier and built this guitar for me around three years ago now I don’t really play anything else.
JGT: Strings, action height, etc?
For over 25 years, “DR Legends,” 13 – 54 Hex core wrapped, stainless steel flat wounds. I swear by them for their feel/texture and brightness of tone. My guitar tech laughs at me for having action that’s so low that it’s just high enough off the frets not to buzz. That’s how I roll I guess.
JGT: You hold a Masters degree from Northwestern and your credits as an educator and lecturer are prodigious. You have an incredible list of associations and performances as well as tremendous academic accomplishments. Can you speak to your philosophy, experiences and outlook on the importance of jazz education today? How did/does it benefit you in your creative pursuits?
I came up during the nascent era in jazz education. There weren’t many university/college programs that offered jazz music as a degree program and even fewer contests and extracurricular offerings outside of the education systems. However, music was still supported in grade schools at the time, so if one was fortunate enough to have a teacher that loved and could teach jazz, they were in luck! Also, there were different kinds of opportunities in communities via musicians themselves who dedicated part of their time to working with and teaching youngsters about jazz, whether it was in an organized way or by allowing them to play alongside them, as in a mentor/apprentice situation.
I benefited from all three of these kinds of education when it came to learning music. I took after school classes in theory in junior high school, went to a performing arts high school and then to Berklee College (to begin my undergrad pursuit). I also had mentors like (pianist, composer) Weldon Irvine, Al Haig (Charlie Parker’s pianist), Sonny Rollins and Jackie McLean (who gave me my first opportunity in jazz education). So I had the best of traditional, bandstand and the mentor/apprenticeship models of jazz education. Most all programs at every level of jazz education are trying to achieve this methodological cocktail to some degree.
The overabundance of jazz ed opportunities has obviously affected the music in many way – too many to get into here. Suffice it to say that although it’s more rare to find self-taught jazz musicians, it’s as rare as it ever was to find true unique jazz voices and innovators.
JGT: What is it about the organ trio that you, Pat Martino, Dave Stryker, and others love? Many of our readers are getting into jazz from rock, blues, country, etc. and the absence of a bass player is very foreign. Many people don’t know the origin and tradition of the organ/drums/guitar trio?
The Hammond organ was popularized in the late 1960s, pretty much singlehandedly by Jimmy Smith. However, Fats Waller played the organ (see “Jitterbug Waltz”), as did a few others before it became a sub-genre of jazz. As importantly, around that time the organ was a part of the sound within so many “classic Rock” hits. With or without electric bass, it was a staple sound in the pop music of that era.
In jazz specifically, the instrumentation was organ, sax and drums and then organ, guitar and drums with the recordings of Jimmy Smith, especially with Kenny Burrell. Wes Montgomery’s first group on records was a formidable organ trio from his hometown of Indianapolis (featuring the great Melvin Rhyne). After that it became part of the jazz guitar heritage to play with an organist because seemingly, all of the great guitarists did – Grant Green, Benson, Martino… Since then, Sco, Peter Bernstein, me and others have carried on that tradition.
JGT: What is your philosophy in the recording studio? For example, do you chart things out or play in the same room at the same time? Do you compose or overdub solos or just “let it rip”?
I don’t have a single philosophy… other than being prepared!!! Different types of recording projects call for different approaches to capturing the music. I thought I’d never record my own record, live to 2-track with everyone in the same room, until I did it. I was approached with the idea and scoffed, until I heard the sonic results of other projects the producer had done. Because of the super-high quality of sound, I was compelled to do it and am very happy that I did. Other records are done with semi or minimal isolation. With everyone playing together and minimal overdubbing. Some projects allow for more crafting, over-dubbing and post production. Again, the important common theme is preparation, which can mean a lot of different things that cover many areas. One has to factor in overall musicality; a command of their instrument and music and then the particular music that’s being presented on the album; understanding the studio and the difference between it and the live bandstand… There are aspects of making recordings that can only be learned and understood by experience. And yes, sometimes I’ll prepare charts if the music calls for it – i.e., is difficult and/or unfamiliar.
JGT: Do you have a favorite of your recordings… if someone was to ask you you for three of our recordings that best exemplify your work (tough question) and why?
I always say that that question is like asking a parent to name their favorite child… Although, secretly… (ha, ha…). I’ll have to list 5. My first record, “Clean Sweep,” was such an honest and accurate representation of my musical self at the time. I was 20 years old and now when I hear something from it I think, “I was pretty darn good at that young age!” I certainly was presenting myself the way I best could and wanted to. Next are the duo of “Modern Man” and “Stand!,” both released in 2001. Though very different, they were both super honest and clear presentations of two different sides of my vision for myself as a jazz guitarist. “Stand!” was my first release with the guitar trio (guitar, bass and drums) and displayed the first, fully matured, guitar-focused view of my style, sound and idiosyncrasies, as well as my musical vision as far as the music I chose to present and the way of doing so. At that time (2000), hardly anyone was playing “Monday, Monday,” “Stand!,” and those kinds of songs in a genuine jazz format. I’m not saying that I was the first to play pop songs in jazz, because I wasn’t’t. Jazz was predicated on this practice. However, at that time it wasn’t a popular thing to be doing – especially for young-ish jazz musicians who were trying to establish themselves.
After that, “Song and Dance” to me represents the BBT as a fully realized group. Not to mention, Pat Metheny noted it as a favorite of his! The Group dynamics and chemistry are palpable on that one and compelled me to do some really good playing (as did the “…Plays for Monk Record”). See!!! I told you, it’s not easy to pick my favorites in this way!! Lastly, I’d have to say the latest, “Soul Fingers” because it highlights the new group and our remarkable and formidable chemistry. I love the production on this one. Of course, it’s Steve Jordan! He compelled me to do some of my best work. And the strings were a dream!!
JGT: The scene today is both tough and vibrant… do you have advice for the aspiring player who wants to record, perform etc?
Love and dedicate yourself to music. That way you’ll be on the right track and attracted to the right influences for the right reasons. There is so much information and influence around us now. Too much. I can’t imagine being a youngster and trying to navigate to see my way through all of it. But obviously, there are people doing it the right way all the time – whatever the era and circumstances. Just please know that ‘modern’ doesn’t necessarily mean better. It’s just new right now, but may not necessarily be substantive enough to last. The music will tell you what is of substance and age won’t have any bearing on that.
JGT: Who do you listen to for inspiration…?
Who or whatever I hear that touches my heart. It will undoubtedly be someone who was tapped into the source at the time of the performance. Great art is so rare and yet, so plentiful.
Bobby Broom’s Organi-sation
Episode 1 | 56m 59s
Guitarist Bobby Broom cut his teeth performing with the likes of Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Dr. John and has amassed a substantial body of work as a leader over the years. In this special performance, the trio plays music from their first CD release Soul Fingers. Featuring Hammond organist Ben Patterson and drummer Kobie Watkins.
An all-star panel of former Jazz Messengers gather to celebrate Art Blakey
The Jazz Congress presents the 2019 Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award to Darlene Chan, a tireless, behind the scenes advocate for so many artists and the music at large.
Also in this video, following the award presentation, members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers gather onstage for a once-in-a-lifetime reunion following the presentation, hosted by Celine Peterson.
Panelists: Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, Cameron Brown, Bobby Broom, Donald Brown, Steve Davis, Leon Lee Dorsey, Essiet Essiet, Kevin Eubanks, Jon Faddis, Benny Green, Billy Harper, Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, Vincent Herring, Harold Mabern, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Ralph Peterson Jr., Bill Pierce, Lonnie Plaxico, Wallace Roney, Melissa Slocum, Charles Tolliver, Steve Turre, Bobby Watson, Reggie Workman.
It’s no secret that Tennessee is home to a lot of great music. Music fans around the world know about the blues on Beale Street in Memphis and the rich history of country music in the Music City, but jazz in Knoxville? People in the broader world may know that we are home to the UT Volunteers, but Knoxville’s flourishing jazz scene is not as well known.
As it turns out, the University of Tennessee is a good starting point for a conversation about jazz in Knoxville, because there is a direct link between Knoxville being home to our state’s flagship campus and the city’s current wealth of musicians and events. You see, the UT School of Music has been training jazz musicians since the 1950s and has offered a degree in jazz performance since 1976. Today, the school employs five full time jazz professors. Between them, they have toured, performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in the art form: Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard and Tom Harrell to name but a few.
John Pizzarelli and Knoxville Jazz Orchestra at the Tennessee Theatre, photo credit to Eric Smith
While many of UT’s jazz graduates have moved away to pursue careers elsewhere, many others have found the region’s natural beauty, temperate climate and easy livability too attractive to leave. I myself happen to be among this number. I grew up in East Tennessee and began my studies at UTK in 1989. After graduation I spent four years in Chicago, but the weather and quality of life didn’t suit me, so I ultimately decided to return to Knoxville in 1999.
The thing that I missed most when I returned home were the professional big bands that played in and around Chicago. As I reflected on this, I realized that there were enough skilled musicians in Knoxville to put together a big band of our own. After making a few phone calls, the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra was born. We began presenting concerts in the fall of 1999 and by 2001 had put together a European festival tour, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Jazz a Vienne in France and the Festival Internacional de Ezcaray in Spain.
Live at Lucille’s (featuring Bobby Broom’s Organi-sation), photo credit to Eric Smith
Shortly thereafter, we began inviting international jazz stars to Knoxville to perform their music with our band. We formed a non-profit organization to support our activities and made it our mission to cultivate a local audience for the music that we love. Today, our organization presents several dozen concerts each year. This includes a series of ticketed big band concerts at the Bijou and Tennessee Theatres, a weekly series of free, outdoor small group concerts during the summer months and a brand new series of performances in conjunction with East Tennessee PBS called Live at Lucille’s. This new series features top jazz artists from around the country, is taped in front of a live studio audience in Knoxville and will begin airing on PBS stations across the state in 2019.
In addition to the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra’s events, there are several venues that offer jazz entertainment on one or more nights each week. Bistro at the Bijou, Pero’s, the Crown and Goose and Drink all have regular jazz offerings and jazz bands pop up from time to time in rotation at Pres Pub, Barley’s, Pilot Light and elsewhere. So now you know our little secret. We hope you’ll come discover for yourself everything that our little piece of heaven has to offer soon!
Renowned jazz guitarist Bobby Broom has been appointed assistant professor of music in the Northern Illinois University School of Music. He will teach jazz guitar and improvisation in the school’s Jazz Studies Program.
Born on New York City’s Upper West Side, Broom took up guitar at the age of 12 and just five years later made his first appearance at Carnegie Hall, playing with Sonny Rollins and Donald Byrd. He relocated to Chicago in the 1980s and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a performer and educator.
“I’m thrilled and honored to assume the position of assistant professor of jazz guitar at Northern Illinois University,” Broom said. “I’m looking forward to sharing with my students, colleagues and the community, all that I’ve gleaned throughout my life and career of making music with many of the 20th century’s jazz masters. I’m so pleased by the prospect of continuing my work in musical expression and jazz guitar studies under the auspices and with the support of NIU.”
Broom holds a Master’s of Music
degree in jazz pedagogy from
Northwestern University, and has taught at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, DePaul University, North Park University and Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music. He conducts clinics, master classes and lectures nationwide and abroad, is a teaching artist with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and has been a Ravinia Jazz Mentor to Chicago Public School students for more than 18 years. Broom has written guest editorial and instructional pieces for national magazines, DownBeat, Jazz Times and Jazziz.
Heralded as “one of the most musical guitarists of our times,” by author and jazz critic Ted Gioia, Broom has spent the new millennium focusing on his musical output as a leader. He has recorded with both his Bobby Broom Trio and the disbanded, Deep Blue Organ Trio for the Premonition, Delmark and Origin labels. His Plays for Monk was released in spring 2009, The Way I Play in April 2008, and Deep Blue’s Wonderfu1! in 2011 and Folk Music in 2007. Bobby was recognized as one of the top guitarists in Down Beat magazine’s annual Readers’ Poll in 2015 as well as their Critics Poll for four years, from 2012–2014 and in 2017.
Throughout his career, Broom has continued to garner praise and encouragement from his peers and elders. Sonny Rollins has said, “Bobby is the reason I like the guitar.” Fellow guitarists also laud Broom, including those that he admires such as John Scofield, George Benson and Pat Metheny, who cited Broom’s 2007 Song and Dance recording as “one of the best (jazz) guitar trio records ever!”
Broom’s latest recording is with his new organ group, the Bobby Broom Organi-Sation, which was the opening act for Steely Dan’s fifty-city, North American tour in 2014. The new recording, Soul Fingers, is arguably Bobby’s most ambitious to date. Produced by the legendary drummer/producer Steve Jordan, Bobby once again revisits the music of his youth, this time employing a wide range of instrumental palates, in addition to palpable group interplay and his own, always soulful and singularly personal, guitar sound and style.