He’s a skilled jazz guitarist who has performed with some of the industry’s biggest names. With a career spanning decades, Bobby Broom attributes much of his success to a love of music as well as important mentors.
Broom is a professional jazz guitarist, composer, and associate professor of jazz studies at Northern Illinois University as of last summer.
Broom began playing the guitar at the age of 12 and was influenced by the sounds of legendary guitarist George Benson.
“That really just changed my life,” he explained. “I decided that day that I wanted to pursue music and jazz on the guitar.”
Broom grew up in New York. He broke into the professional scene while still in high school. At a young age, he performed with some of the jazz greats.
He also collaborated with legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins in both New York and Chicago, where he has lived since 1986.
But, with his success, he has made a commitment to give back.
Broom has been assisting students with the Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program for the past 24 years, a program that pairs mentors with Chicago high school students who enjoy jazz.
Broom, who holds a degree in jazz education, says his teaching philosophy is to share his experience and knowledge while also teaching students to listen by ear.
Broom continues to perform live with his band, the Bobby Broom Trio, as part of his “day job.” He hopes that his students will gain an appreciation for the art of compassion and sharing from his instruction, and that his audience will gain an appreciation for the art of jazz.
“Jazz is a very democratic art, founded on group and teamwork and those kinds of principles that would be great if they were more celebrated,” he said.
Broom recently released his 14th studio album, “Keyed Up.”
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