Bobby Joins Northern Illinois University Jazz Faculty

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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.

Renowned jazz guitarist Bobby Broom joins School of Music faculty
Photograph by John Broughton

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.