Sunday, June 7, 2009


Dear Thelonious Monk,
Are you hip to jazz guitarist Bobby Broom? If you are not, Broom grew up in Harlem. He started playing professionally at 16, and he has the distinction of being the only guitarist to play with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Broom has built an impressive record of accomplishments and he's made a load of stellar albums as well.

I first heard him at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan with your close friend tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Rollins is pushing 80 now and he is still going strong. Anyway, I'm writing you because last week I received Broom’s new album, which hits the streets June 16th. “Bobby Broom Plays for Monk” is the title of the album. It’s a sound da-

Broom used the same cover art you did on “Monk’s Music”. There’s one noticeable difference though. Instead of sitting in the red wagon, Broom placed his guitar in it. Did he play the same songs on “Monk’s Music”? The guitarist played just one “Ruby My Dear”, which is my favorite Thelonious Monk composition. Mr. Monk, you wrote such sweet ballads.

Broom covered ten of your popular compositions such as “Ask Me Now”, “Lulu’s Back in Town”, “Bemsha Swing” and “In Walked Bud”. The guitarist played it safe by performing your less complicated compositions, but Broom did a competent job nonetheless. He did not deviate much from the manner you arranged those compositions.

On “In Walked Bud”, for example, Broom let the melody loose for a moment while he improvised. The melody was always near arms reach. It was a memorable take on your ode to be bop pianist Bud Powell.
The selections on “Bobby Broom Plays for Monk” that’ll grabs folks attention are “Ask Me Now” and “Lulu’s Back in Town”. Broom, drummer Kobie Watkins and bassist Dennis Carroll stroll effortlessly through those songs.
Throughout the album, Broom's style is soft and melodic style was evocative of a youthful Kenny Burrell. Broom got to the marrow of your songs. He’s not an ostentatious guitarist at all. He’s straight to the point. Maybe that’s why Sonny Rollins hired him.

I endorse, this album, Mr. Monk., It isn’t another tribute album. Broom comes across as a confident jazz musician. He knew he has what it takes to deal with your work. Broom challenged himself on this recording. He did not setout to refine your compositions,which would’ve been foolish. I wonder if it's possible to refine or improve on perfection Mr. Monk

I don’t know if you listen to a lot of music, or if you enjoy listening to others musicians play your music , but if you have some free time after “Bobby Broom Plays for Monk” hits the streets , you should listen to this album . I guarantee is worthwhile.
Charles L. Latimer
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