Stand! – Bobby Broom
Premonition 669 17 90754 2 6
A thematic release is always risky ground for a jazz artist. This is
especially true of "Stand!", in which Chicago guitarist Bobby Broom offers
jazz reinterpretations of pop songs, mostly from the 60s, and some of them
not the hippest material from that era (Can’t Take My Eyes Off of
You, anyone?). Fortunately, Broom’s risk pays off, and this disc is
highly worth hearing.
There is a hint of extramusical significance here. Broom opens with the
title track, reharmonized to create a more reflective and less confident
mood than the Sly Stone original, which is fitting given how much both Stone
and the sociopolitical movements his music reflected have suffered since
those days. On a more upbeat (and slightly ironic) note, the disc concludes
with Monday, Monday, with Broom lending a blues/gospel feeling to
this song from the ultra-white Mamas & The Papas.
It’s clear, though, that it’s the music that concerns Broom and his trio
more than anything else, and they serve it well. Broom is from the subtlety
school of jazz guitar — muted, behind the beat, and harmonically erudite,
he may build up to some rapid runs to climax his statements, but he never
raises his voice, figuratively speaking. His trio has undeniable chemistry,
too, with bassist Dennis Carroll laying down the foundation while drummer
Dana Hall provides an aggressive, but light, background spark to set off
Broom’s guitar work.
A couple of the arrangement quirks (the key change in House of the Rising
Suns solo section and the irregular chorus lengths of I Will)
might seem too tricky, but they do add spice to the listening experience.
One might also quibble at the trio for using the odd-meter trick twice
(The Letter and Happy Together), but both feature especially
heated playing, with the former cut featuring enough wildness from Hall to
lead to some off-mic shouts and laughter, presumably from Broom.
"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. As such, this disc will repay many listens.