Even if Bobby Broom had not decided to call his album Soul Fingers, there would be no denying where this music came from. There’s no denying that each note, while it may be conceived from an intellectual understanding of how a melody would flow, appears to be squeezed like nectar from an ephemeral place in the soul, that supernatural being that seems to accompany us on our earthly journey. And while all of us journey through life stewarded by the soul only a handful of musicians like Bobby Broom seem especially in tune with it when they express their art. Moreover each musical note seems etches on the senses not, as if by soft flesh, but the raw nerve-endings of his fingers, which gives these songs – even the most familiar ones – an altogether new meaning.
The core of the music comes from what is really an organ trio, which is rather common (and that’s not necessarily meant in an altogether generous way), although those by Joey DeFrancesco, Jared Gold and especially Greg Lewis (OrganMonk), and the guitar/organ/drums trios of Dave Stryker have set a truly high standard. This guitar-led trio is truly extraordinary. Much of this has to do with the exquisitely empathetic musicianship of all three members, who parlay like old friends who not only speak the same language, but who have found an almost secret melodic, harmonic and rhythmic code of communicating. This also makes anticipating where each one is leading and how ideas that they develop must flow – not into a dead end but into something wholly new. In this regard Mr Broom is like a force of nature – an eternal river full of bubbling music, tumbling without harness.
Mr Broom leads from the front, of course, but the others – including those who join in on “Ode to Billie Joe” (Justin “Justefan” Thomas), the musicians of the horn and percussion sections who star elsewhere – are so completely attuned with his vision and artistry that they literally play as one. And Mr Broom is in full bloom throughout this recording. Each piece here is played with a kind of languid ease, each melodic variation following the other, quite inexorably, his sumptuous guitar sound with its soft articulation brilliantly caught in this recording by engineer Andy Taub, clearly an integral part of this musical process. The lived-in character of Mr Broom’s phrase-making eschews the brimstone and fire of many younger guitarists, and replaces that with boppish clusters and rippling glissandos; well-honed values articulated from experience. It’s an unforgettable recording best experienced in old chestnuts polished into gleaming new gems, such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Get Ready” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.
Track list – 1: Come Together; 2: Ode To Billie Joe; 3: Do It Again; 4: Why My Guitar Gently Weeps; 5: Summer Breeze; 6: Eyes Of Faith; 7: Get Ready; 8: A Whiter Shade of Pale; 9: I Can’t Help; 10: The Guitar Man
Personnel – Bobby Broom: guitar and electric bass (4); Ben Paterson: Hammond B3 organ; Kobie Watkins: drums. Additional Personnel – Steve Jordan: drums (5, 6); Justin “Justefan” Thomas: vibes solo (2); Sergio Pires: acoustic guitar; Luciano Antonio: acoustic guitar; Andrew Toombs: melodica; Filipe Fraga: percussion Horn Section – Ron Blake: tenor and baritone saxophones; Chris Rogers: trumpet and flugelhorn Percussion Ensemble – Kobie Watkins: percussion; Steve Jordan: percussion; and Sammy Figueroa : percussion and congas 3 and 7 (solo)
Released – 2018
Label – MRi Entertainment (CSM0118)