Bobby Broom

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Bobby Broom
Background information
Birth name Robert Broom, Jr.
Born (1961-01-18) January 18, 1961 (age 55)
Origin New York City, United States
Genres Hard bop
Progressive jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Labels Delmark Records
Arista Records
Criss Cross Jazz
Fantasy Records
Origin Records
Doxy Records
Associated acts Deep Blue Organ Trio
Sonny Rollins
Dr. John
Charles Earland
Kenny Burrell
Kenny Garrett

Bobby Broom (born January 18, 1961), birthname Robert Broom, Jr., is an American jazz guitarist, composer and music educator born and raised in New York City who relocated to Chicago, which has been his home town since 1984.[1] Broom performs and records with his group The Bobby Broom Trio and his organ group, the The Bobby Broom Organi-Sation. While versed in the traditional jazz (bebop and post-bop) idioms, Broom, like many current artists, draws from a variety of American music forms such as funk, soul, R&B and the blues to create his style.[2]

Early years[edit]

Broom began studying the guitar at age 12, taking lessons in the American Folk music style. A year later, he began studies with jazz guitarist Jimmy Carter in Harlem, where he took weekly lessons for the next two years. His interest in jazz began in earnest at age 15 and as a result he began his research, study and practice of the jazz art.

Broom attended the High School of Music and Art (now known as Laguardia High School of Performing Arts), where he played in the jazz ensemble and received an award for Outstanding Jazz Improvisation during his senior year.

Broom began his career while still in high school, performing at New York clubs with Charlie Parker pianists, Al Haig and Walter Bishop Junior. In 1977 he played at Carnegie Hall in a concert with Sonny Rollins and special guest Donald Byrd.

He went to the Berklee School of Music from 1978–79, then returned to New York in order to pursue his career while attending Long Island University. At this time he began working in New York as guitarist for Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, Dave Grusin, Hugh Masekela and Tom Browne, eventually landing his own recording contract with GRP Records.



With his personal approach to the musical legacy that influenced him, Bobby Broom has become one of the premiere guitarists in jazz today. He has earned three DownBeat Critics Poll nods (2012 to 2014) as one of the world's foremost jazz guitarists.

“Broom has one of the few truly recognizable styles among modern guitarists, and one of the most satisfying solo concepts in mainstream jazz,” wrote critic Neil Tesser in the Chicago Jazz Music Examiner.

The groundwork laid by his childhood jazz-guitar heroes, Wes Montgomery, early George Benson and Pat Martino and others such as Kenny Burrell and Grant Green, influenced Broom to pursue a career that has included work with Art Blakey, Max Roach, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Garrett, Miles Davis, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Dr. John, Kenny Burrell, saxophonists Ron Blake & Eric Alexander, Ron Carter and Ramsey Lewis, among others.

Among Bobby Broom's recordings as a leader is his trio's 2001 release, Stand!, a recording of unlikely interpretations of 60s and 70s pop and soul classics which received praise for staying true to the creative demands of authentic modern jazz. Jambands Online magazine writes: "Stand!"'s theme works well for Broom — it adds accessibility to the set without getting in the way of documenting a skilled trio in its natural element. Further examples of Broom's foray into the developing American Song Book can be found on his other recent recordings as well as on recordings by The Deep Blue Organ Trio (see discography).

In 2009 he recorded "Bobby Broom Plays for Monk" with its slyly referential cover shot of the little red wagon which Monk used for the 1957 Riverside Records recording Monk's Music. The album was both critically well received and embraced by fans and established Broom as a thoughtful and innovative interpreter of some of the most difficult music to master in all of Jazz.[3]

2012's recording, "Upper West Side Story" was Broom's first release of exclusively original compositions. The album peaked at No. 1. on the College Music Journal jazz chart and was in the JazzWeek and DownBeat magazine's Top Albums of 2012 [4]

"I purposely waited to make a record of all originals," Broom said. "I feel that can be sort of a run-of-the-mill thing to do – that everyone is doing it. But, you know, I've been out here 30 years now and people need to know who I am beyond my guitar sound and style. This album reveals more of me." [5]

His latest release and eleventh lead album, released on August 19, 2014, My Shining Hour, is a personal and in-depth exploration of American Songbook classics and his first studio recording exclusively of this nature. The trio of Broom, bassist Dennis Carroll, and drummer Makaya McCraven produce

"...among the most satisfying jazz guitar albums likely to emerge this year,"

says the New York Times' Nate Chinen. And DownBeat magazine's Jon Corbett writes:

“4-STARS - Broom is the full monty: ultra-refined timing and tone, continuous flow of ideas, a touch of grease, a treat for the connoisseur.”

. It debuted in August at #41 on the JazzWeek charts. climbed to #22 the following week, jumped to #5, dropped back to #6, and then locked in at #3 for the next two weeks, making it among Broom's most successful albums to date.[6]


Born in Harlem (1961) and raised on New York City's Upper West Side (1970s), in the mid 1980s Broom relocated to Chicago where he went on to tour and record with many of the aforementioned musicians. In Chicago, he also formed The Bobby Broom Trio in 1990, the Deep Blue Organ Trio in 1999 which performed until their breakup in 2014, and The Bobby Broom Organi-Sation with organist Ben Paterson, and Chicago drummers Kobie Watkins and Makaya McCraven, to open for crossover pop band Steely Dan on their 2014 Jamalot Ever After Tour in the same capacity that had propelled the Deep Blue Organ Trio into the mainstream on prior Steely Dan tours.[7]

Music Educator[edit]

As an educator, Broom began his work in 1982 for Jackie McLean, Director of African American Music at Studies for the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Over the years Broom has also been a lecturer/instructor at the American Conservatory of Music (1986–1990), Chicago Musical College — Roosevelt University (1990–1994), The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (1987), DePaul University (2002–2008) and most recently at North Park University. He currently instructs and coaches Chicago area high school students for the Ravinia Festival Organization's community outreach — Jazz Scholar Program, as well as the Thelonious Monk Institute.

In 2005, while developing his career as a leader, attending Northwestern University for his master's degree in jazz pedagogy and teaching at DePaul, Broom rejoined Sonny Rollins touring band as a regular member for the second time in his career (his first tenure with the jazz legend was from 1982-1987). He performed and recorded with Rollins until the spring of 2010. During this tenure Broom continued to increase his visibility as a leader, producing three recordings under his own name and another with the Deep Blue Organ Trio (their third).

Awards & Honors[edit]

  • DownBeat Critics Poll 2014[8]
  • DownBeat Critics Poll 2013[9]
  • DownBeat Critics Poll 2012[10]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Sonny Rollins

With Deep Blue Organ Trio

  • Wonderful!, 2011 Origin Records
  • Folk Music, 2007 Origin Records
  • Goin' To Town — Live at the Green Mill, 2006 Delmark Records CD and DVD
  • Deep Blue Bruise, 2004 Delmark Records

With David Murray

With others

  • Duke Elegant, 2000 Blue Note Records (with Dr. John)
  • Eric Alexander in Europe, 1995 Criss Cross Jazz
  • Cubism, 1992 Fresh Sound Records (with Ronnie Cuber)
  • Third Degree Burn, 1989 Milestone Records (with Charles Earland)
  • Front Burner, 1988 Milestone Records (with Charles Earland)
  • Pieces of Blue and The Blues, 1987 Blue Note Records (Kenny Burrell & The Jazz Guitar Band)
  • Generation, 1986 Blue Note Records (Kenny Burrell & The Jazz Guitar Band, w/ Rodney Jones)
  • Livin' For The Beat, 1984 Arista Records
  • Home Again, 1982 Elektra Records (with Stanley Turrentine)
  • Pied Piper, 1981 GRP/Arista Records (with Dave Valentine)
  • Love Approach, 1981 GRP/Arista Records (with Tom Browne)
  • Orange Express, 1981 Sony Japan (with Sadao Watanabe)
  • Dave Grusin and the GRP All Stars Live in Japan, 1980 GRP/Arista Records


External links[edit]