Bobby Broom's new CD (Orgin Records), Upper West Side Story, is the guitarist's tenth album in as many years -- the culmination of a golden period of prolific creativity and steady artistic growth. Five of those recordings have featured his jazz trio with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins, who've worked as a unit since 1997.
Providing an intimate look at Broom's musical personality and the trio's fully developed group chemistry, the original compositions on Upper West Side Story are described by Broom as "an ode to where I'm from." They reflect a wide range of influences across a spectrum of genres while always remaining deep in the tradition of the modern jazz guitarist. Included is the first studio recording of Broom's "D's Blues," a live video of which has been a fan favorite online for several years.
"I purposely waited to make a record of all originals," says Broom. "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."
"In my twenty years of playing with Bobby," says bassist Carroll, "I've always felt that his style of playing melds the feelings of all-American blues with an urban hip soulfulness that really speaks to the progression of jazz."
"B is one of the great guitarists and musicians of this generation," adds drummer Watkins. "Playing with him and this trio has meant so much for my development and prepared me to have intelligent musical conversations."
For the last two years, Broom has also been working with the young drummer Makaya McCraven, who is heard on three tracks of the new CD. "Playing with Bobby," says McCraven, "you always have to dig deeper. His depth in vocabulary allows the music to go anywhere with ease."