Review: Bob Brozman – Fire In The Mind

Posted on: Saturday, Dec 1, 2012

Bob Brozman – Fire In The Mind
RUF Records RUF 1183

In his own words, New York-born Bob Brozman’s latest album goes further and deeper than his former CDs. The thirteen original numbers cover a range of musical influences that stretch the blues connection to the extreme. Bob demonstrates his musical virtuosity by playing an array of guitars (including an Hawaiian model and a 22-string chaturangui), a cello-banjo, a ukulele and a baglama (a small Greek bouzouki). He is expertly backed on the album by Jim Norris on drums.

The album opens with a couple of instrumentals, “Breathing The Blues”, a slow Delta bluesish number, and the high-paced, Indian-influenced Cannibal Stomp”. The gently shuffling “American House Fire Blues” leads into the African-inspired “Rhythm Is The Thing” while “Strange Mind Blues” hints at Spain and features Brozman’s full vocal range from deep baritone upwards.

Another instrumental, “Blue Mars Over Sorrento” is also heavily Spain-influenced despite its title, before “Banm Kalou Banm” introduces a Creole flavouring to the international banquet. “Ow! My Uke’s On Fire” is a fast-moving Django Rheinhardt-style jazzy instrumental, followed by “Nightmares And Dreams”, a bluesy instrumental with more Indian overtones. “Memory Blues”, a Slim Whitman-style ballad, has a distinctly Hawaiian feel to it and is the prelude to “Lonesome Blues”, which engineers a return to the Delta, but delivered in a plaintive falsetto vocal, to end the album.

Blues purists may find this album to be something of a challenge but it is undoubtedly innovative and entertaining and exemplifies Bob Brozman’s declaration that “taking risk is paramount”.

LIONEL ROSS

www.bobbrozman.com

www.rufrecords.de

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