For a man who quit an established recording career in order to study the fine art of making violins, David Bromberg sure knows how to work a room. A veteran sideman to Dylan, Ringo Starr and Jerry Jeff Walker, as well as a solo performer and bandleader of more than 40 years standing, the bearded and bespectacled Bromberg may have kept a low profile through the so-called MTV era. But he didn't sleep through the more recent recording industry implosion and its attendant rise of the Pod People. Rather, he took his boundary busting energy back to the live stage, with the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey playing a big role in this master entertainer's game plan.
The multi-instrumentalist and musicologist has made the Count Basie Theatre a crucial pit stop in his annual tour schedule for each of the last four years ... While Bromberg may take the spotlight for an unaccompanied number or two, it's his role as bandleader and raconteur that prompted the New York Times to brand him "electrifying." A performance by the 12-piece David Bromberg Big Band fireballs forward like a bull in a used record shop, tracing its own musical logic — Bob Wills to Bob Dylan to Bo Diddley to Dave Dudley — with station stops anywhere from Sam Cooke to "a bluegrass tribute to Ethel Merman." Not to mention some fondly remembered originals from his vintage albums and a lot of things that you thought had been written by the Grateful Dead, Patsy Cline, Cab Calloway or even the Clash. - By Tom Chesek
Titles include: Sloppy Drunk, I'll Take You Back, Dark Hollow, Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor, Who's Lovin' You Tonight, This Love Affair, Tongue, It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry, If You Don't Want Me, Nobody's, Sharon and Driving Wheel
Running Time: 100 minutes
Review: The legendary David Bromberg Big Band is live and well and on their own DVD for the first time. Forget everything you ever knew, loved, touched, heard of, stood next to, smelt, felt, or dreamed about just how good a concert experience could be. This is the one concert to take home and re-live in your living room, turned up loud. Everyone knows somebody who has seen David Bromberg live with his famed genre-bending Big Band, on some college campus in the 70's, at a rare club date in the 80's or 90's, or at a festival in the new millennium. Now you can stop being envious and start a new relationship with your big screen TV for an hour and a half of great musicianship with a time-tested band-of-brothers. If you like equal-to-Pavarotti lead singing, gorgeous acoustic guitar, searing electric guitar, down home mando & fiddle, brilliant sax, cooler-than-Hollywood trombone, Armstrong-like trumpet, in-the-pocket bass, to-die-for back-up vocals, and the best drumming on Earth, you'll find it here on stage with Bromberg and his motley crew. Unlike most artists, whose talent diminishes with age, David's singing and playing prowess has gotten smarter, deeper, and more adroit over time. 'nuff said: reading about great music is just silly, like watching someone else eat when you're hungry. Go get this gem now, watch it, then tell all your friends (both of them) to buy it too. I bet you can't watch it just once... - (Tracy Leverton, Amazon.com review)
Review: When David Bromberg recently took the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, he took the stage in its entirety, flooding it from end-to-end with his hulking 'big band.' The now 64 year-old showman was back in town - and in a jivingly blue mood. Without a net - or a prefabricated set list - the 11 of them fly by the seat of their collective pants, keenly guided through a stylistic funhouse by only their long- standing telepathy. Because that's always been the Bromberg thing: you're never quite sure what the bearded bard is going to throw at you from deep down in his voluminous repertoire. So fiddle, mandolin, and riffing horns whoop up the hoedown of "Dark Hollow," a dash of Dixieland spikes "Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor," sideshow "Sharon" wryly sprawls, and "This Love Affair" sounds downright divine, right down to its melted butter slide solo. And the softest of blue pulses are what levitate the emotional opposites of "I'll Take You Back" and "Who's Lovin' You Tonight." Interspersed interviews let Bromberg shed insight, yet it's Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" which offers him and his guitar some alone time. - BluesRag / Dennis Rozanski