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Acclaimed guitarist Bobby Broom delves into pop music from the ’60s and ’70s—recontextualizing familiar tunes in a fresh jazz context—on Soul Fingers (MRI Entertainment), out Oct. 12.
Broom’s 12th album as a leader will mark the recorded debut of the Chicago-based guitarist’s trio, Organi-Sation, featuring organist Ben Paterson and drummer Kobie Watkins.
To hear the album’s opening cut, a soulful arrangement of The Beatles’ classic “Come Together,” click on the SoundCloud link below.
To hear “Come Together” on Apple Music, click here.
Other tracks on Soul Fingers, which was produced by legendary drummer Steve Jordan, include The Beatles’ tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” as well as “Do It Again” (Steely Dan), “Get Ready” (The Temptations), “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (Procol Harum), “Summer Breeze” (Seals & Crofts) and “Ode To Billie Joe” (Bobbie Gentry).
Broom is no stranger to covering standards and pop hits. His 2001 album, Stand!, includes hard-bop versions of songs by The Turtles, The Mamas & The Papas and Sly & The Family Stone.
The Deep Blue Organ Trio, which Broom co-led from 2000 to 2013, released Wonderful!, a collection of Stevie Wonder songs, in 2011. Three years later Broom released My Shining Hour, a set of standards.
While developing Soul Fingers, Broom realized the ideas he was coming up with required the help of an outside producer. “The process was so different than other records I’ve done,” he said. “I got more involved in its preproduction. I was hearing horns and a bunch of different textures, so at some point I said, ‘I need help with this one.’ I immediately thought of Steve because of the soul music sound I was feeling.”
Broom and Jordan played together with Sonny Rollins once in the early ’80s and again during 2005, when both were members of the saxophonist’s band.
Broom thought Jordan would be a perfect fit for the Soul Fingers sproject, and fortunately, the in-demand drummer and producer was available: “I emailed [Jordan] and it took him less than an hour to get back to me with, ‘Let’s go!’”
In addition to producing and sharing arranging credits, Jordan plays drums on “Get Ready” and “Eyes Of Faith,” the sole Broom original in the program. The song’s gospel-tinged theme is embellished by a lush string arrangement.
During three months in 2014, the Organi-Sation was on the road opening shows for Steely Dan. Consequently, Broom, Paterson and Watkins developed a deep musical bond. “We really solidified our chemistry on that tour,” Broom said, “so it was like a hand-in-glove kind of thing going into this session.”
The trio’s version of “Ode to Billie Joe” features the guitarist’s 7/4 funk arrangement and his horn charts for saxophonist Ron Blake and trumpeter Chris Rogers. Other highlights include a shuffle-swing version of “Do It Again” and a bossa nova–infused version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on which the leader is joined by Brazilian acoustic guitarists Sergio Pires and Luciano Antonio.
Over the course of his long career, Broom has collaborated with numerous icons. In addition to two different five-year stints with Rollins, Broom has worked with Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine and Charles Earland.
In the 1990s the guitarist formed the Bobby Broom Trio and the Deep Blue Organ Trio and recorded frequently with both units. He also made three quartet records (No Hype Blues, Waitin’ And Waitin’ and Modern Man) before shifting to the guitar-bass-drums trio as his primary outlet, beginning in 2001 with Stand!
Broom and Organi-Sation will perform an album release show at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois, on Oct. 5. To order tickets, click here. (Other concert dates will be announced later.)
For more information on Broom and Soul Fingers, visit the artist’s website. DB
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