Bobby Broom was born Robert Broom Jr. on January 18, 1961 in New York City and began studying the guitar at age 12, taking lessons in the American Folk music style. A year later, he studied with jazz guitarist Jimmy Carter in Harlem where he took weekly lessons for the next two years.
His interest in jazz began in earnest at age 15 and as a result he began his research, study and practice of the jazz art. Broom attended the Laguardia High School of Performing Arts where he played in the jazz ensemble. He received an award for Outstanding Jazz Improvisation during his senior year.
Broom began his career while still in high school, performing at New York clubs with Charlie Parker’s pianists, Al Haig and Walter Bishop Jr. By 1977 he was playing with Sonny Rollins and Donald Byrd at Carnegie Hall. He went to Berklee School of Music in 1978, then returned to New York the next year in order to pursue his career while attending Long Island University.
At this time he began working in New York as guitarist for Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, Dave Grusin, Hugh Masekela and Tom Browne and landed his own recording contract with GRP Records. He earned three DownBeat Critics Poll nods from 2012 to 2014 as one of the world’s foremost jazz guitarists.
He has performed with Max Roach, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Garrett, Miles Davis, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Dr. ohn, Ron Carter, Dianne Reeves, Eon Blake, Eric Alexander, Ron Carter and Ramsey Lewis among others. He has recorded as a leader with The Deep Blue Organ Trio, The Bobby Broom Organi-Sation and his trio with Kobie Watkins and Makaya McCraven..
In the mid 1980s Broom relocated and as an educator, Broom began his work in 1982 for Jackie McLean, Director of African American Music at Studies for the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Over the years he has also been a lecturer/instructor at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago Musical Colege-Roosevelt University, DePaul University and North Park University. He currently instructs and coaches Chicago area high school students for the Ravinia Festival Organization’s community outreach — Jazz Scholar Program, as well as the Thelonious Monk Institute.
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Lonnie Liston Smith, Jr. was born into a musical family on December 28, 1940 in Richmond, Virginia. With his father a member of Richmond Gospel music group The Harmonizing Four, as a child he was privy to groups such as the Swan Silvertones and the Soul Stirrers with a young Sam Cooke at his house. He learned piano, tuba and trumpet in high school and college, graduating from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland with a degree in music education.
Influenced by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, while still a teenager at college, Smith became well known locally as a backing vocalist and pianist. He played the Baltimore area with Gary Bartz, Grachan Moncur, Mickey Bass, backed Betty Carter and Ethel Ennis and played in the house band at the Royal Theatre.
1963 saw him moving to New York, once again with Carter for a year followed by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and recording Here Comes The Whistleman. After this stint with Kirk he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers sharing the piano seat with Mike Nock and Keith Jarrett and then with Max Roach. He would go on to play with Pharoah Sanders improvising and pushing the creative boundaries of free jazz. It is at this point that Smith began experimenting with electric keyboards:
In 1969 Lonnie also backed Sanders vocalist Leon Thomas on his first album Spirits Known and Unknown, played with Gato Barbieri on The Third World, and with Miles Davis for On The Corner. He formed the Cosmic Echoes in 1973 with Cecil McBee, George Barron, Joe Beck, David Lee, James Mtume, Sonny Morgan, Badal Roy and Geeta Vashi. The group blended fusion, soul and funk on several recordings for Flying Dutchman Records over the next twelve years.
After the crossover success of the 1970s, he moved into the smooth jazz format, however, public interest slowly waned. By the mid-Eighties he returned to his acoustic roots with McBee and Al Foster recording a session of standards for Bob Thiele’s Startrak label. But dealing with the labels bottom line he returned to smooth jazz working with Phyllis Hyman and Stanley Turrentine. He also delved into hip-hop working with rapper Guru on his groundbreaking Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. Pianist and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith established his own label Loveland, gathered greater recognition with Sony International distributing his Cosmic Echoes years, and has since continued to compose, record and tour to festivals worldwide.
Melton S. Mustafa was born on November 23, 1947 in Miami, Florida, the younger brother of Jesse Jones, Jr. He started playing the trumpet in junior high school and as a teenager played in a five-piece R&B/calypso band led by his brother. As a young adult in the Sixties, he studied at Berklee College of Music and Mississippi Valley State College before graduating from Florida A&M with a degree in music education.
During this period he started played behind Sam and Dave, Betty Wright, Lattimore, the Marvelettes and Joe Simon. His love for jazz never waning, his visibility on the Miami jazz scene increased when Melton joined hard bopper multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan. By the 80s he was playing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra led by mercer Ellington, Jaco Pastorius, James Williams, Bobby Watson and John Hicks and Mingus Dynasty among others.
Mustafa joined the Count Basie Orchestra in 1984 and stayed for eight years. In 1992 he formed his own big band and a couple years later signed with Contemporary/Fantasy releasing his debut album Boiling Point. He followed up with his sophomore project St. Louis Blues in 1997. Never far from jazz standards and ballads his quintet recorded his latest CD titled The Softer Side, Scenes from Miami Vol. 1 featuring Duffy Jackson on drums, Dennis Marks on bass and Jim Gasior on piano.
He produces his Annual Melton Mustafa Jazz Festival at the university that has welcomed Jon Faddis, Abraham Laboriel, Benny Golson, Dr. Nathan Davis, Dr. Grover Washington Jr., Dr. James Moody, Idris Muhammad, George Cables, Wallace Roney, Patrice Rushen, Geri Allen, Jimmy Owens, Billy Cobham, Herbie Mann, Dr. Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Curtis Fuller, Nestor Torres, Winard Harper, Najee, Randy Brecker, and others.
As an educator he is the Director of Jazz Studies at Florida Memorial University, teaching Music Theory, Jazz Composition and other jazz related courses. The hard bop, post bop, soul and swing trumpeter, composer, arranger and producer and educator Melton Mustafa continues to perform, record and tour.
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Seldon Powell was born on November 15, 1928 in Lawrenceville, Virginia. A classically trained saxophonist and flautist who studied at Juilliard in New York City, he went on to work briefly with Tab Smith in 1949 before joining and recording with Lucky Millinder the following year. For the next two years he would spend in the military and upon discharge became a studio musician.
A solid musician with the ability to move between genres from big band to hard bop to soul jazz and R&B, over a forty year career he would record four albums as a leader between 1956 and 1973 and another 60 album sessions as a sideman with Clark Terry, Johnny Hammond Smith, Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, Neal Hefti, Billy Ver Planck, Sy Oliver,, Erskine Hawkins, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Gato Barbieri, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan,Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, roland Hana, Osie Johnson, Freddie Green, Gus Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Friedrich Gulda, Art Farmer, Cal Tjader, Billy Taylor, Ernie Wilkins, Panama Francis, Teri Thornton, Jimmy Forrest, Charlie Byrd, Oliver Nelson and the list goes on.
He recorded for Epic, Roost, Savoy, RCA, United Artists, Lion, Riverside, EmArcy, Golden Crest, Candid, ABC, New Jazz, Impulse, Solid State, Verve, 20th Century, Atlantic, and Sesac record labels. Tenor saxophonist and flautist who concentrated in the swing, progressive and soul jazz, big band and rhythm & blues genres passed away on January 25, 1997 in Hempstead, New York.
Lou Blackburn was born on November 12, 1922 in Rankin, Pennsylvania. Performing mainly in the swing genre, his adaptability lent his trombone to pursue several other genres including the West Coast jazz, soul jazz and mainstream mediums.
During the 1950s Lou played swing with Lionel Hampton and also with Charlie Ventura. In the early 1960s he began performing with Duke Ellington’s big band and with musicians like trumpeter Cat Anderson, Horace Tapscott, Melvin Moore, Red Callender and Bobby Bryant. He performed sideman duties on the album Mingus at Monterey with Charles Mingus. During this period he did some crossover work with The Beach Boys and The Turtles. He was also a part of the recording session for the film The Manchurian Candidate
Blackburn recorded as a leader in 1963, Jazz Frontier and Two Note Samba for Imperial Records and both have been reissued by Blue Note as a compilation The Complete Imperial Sessions. He also recorded Perception, Brass Bag, Jean-Bleu and Ode To Taras. As a sideman he worked with June Christy, Gil Fuller and The Three Sounds recording for Capitol, Pacific Jazz and Blue Note record labels. Trombonist Lou
His decision to live abroad moved him to Germany where he toured very successfully out of Germany and Switzerland with his ethno jazz band Mombasa that had strong African content and players. He also put together an ensemble called the Lou Blackburn International Quartet that had a more progressive feel. Trombonist Lou Blackburn passed away on June 7, 1990 in Berlin, Germany.
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