Biography: Bob Brozman, 1954 - 2013
Redefining musical diversity worldwide, Bob Brozman is a remarkably prolific artist whose wit, energy, and musical technique combine powerfully to create an unforgettable live performance. A master of slide, fingerstyle, and percussive guitar, Bob's exhilarating show spans the global and musical spectrum, and keeps audiences enthralled, begging for more of his endearing, infectious energy.
Bob's familiarity with diverse world music cultures produces a novel blending of rhythmic and timbral influences, unparalleled in today's musical environment. His rhythmic dexterity resonates with elements of blues, jazz, Gypsy swing, calypso, sega, and even the most modern hip-hop and ska beats.
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Bob Brozman with his custom National Baritone guitar from National Reso-Phonic.
Photo by Ali Madjdi
Likewise, his chords and harmonies articulate an acute blend of timbres from Hawaiian, Indian, African, Japanese/Okinawan, Caribbean, and American roots blues. His fingerwork has been described in world press as uniquely staggering, yet full of humor. Bob has a collection of hand-tricks that make audiences look for electronic effects that in fact don't exist: his show is the clean product of acoustic genius.
Bob's disarming talent for humor and rapport invariably adds spice to his already well-seasoned repertoire of music. A lifelong study of ethnomusicology and the global migration of musical styles ensures Bob's committed attention and respect to each of the cultures in his repertoire. He casually shares historical facts with his audiences, and charms them with his ability to integrate local languages into his show: over the years, Bob has taught himself useful phrases in over 30 languages, which he regularly uses both on stage and off.
Undoubtedly, however, Bob's preferred language is music - which he speaks fluently, around the world. His most recent projects have rendered him a true player in the world music scene. Since 2000, Bob has completed 15 full-length recordings, both solo and with reknown artists from around the world. Most recently, POST-INDUSTRIAL BLUES and LUMIÃˆRE have proven Bob's virtuosity in both the blues and world music genres. His 2005 release SONGS OF THE VOLCANO (CD/DVD) documents Bob's two journeys to Papua New Guinea in 2003 and 2004, when he recorded with 60 musicians from five string bands. Other notable projects include the 2003 release of MAHIMA (with Debashish Bhattacharya, India); the 2002 release DIGDIG (with RenÃ© Lacaille, La RÃ©union Island); as well as JIN JIN (with Takashi Hirayasu, Okinawa); OCEAN BLUES (with Djeli Moussa Diawara, Guinea); IN THE SADDLE (with Ledward Kaapana, Hawaii); NANKURU NAISA (again with Hirayasu); TONE POEMS III (with David Grisman and Mike Auldridge, USA); SUNRISE (again with Bhattacharya); ROLLING THROUGH THIS WORLD (with Jeff Lang, Australia); GET TOGETHER (with Woody Mann, USA); and FOUR HANDS SWEET & HOT (with Cyril Pahinui, Hawaii). Bob's 2005 solo release BLUES REFLEX was nominated for The Blues Foundation's 2007 Blues Music Awards, in the category of "Acoustic Album of the Year."
An abundance of projects such as these has established Bob as, according to one reviewer, "the man whose musical empathy seems to know no bounds." And as journalist Paul Fisher notes, "If music existed in another universe, Bob would be the Planet Earth's representative for an interplanetary collaboration."
Bob Brozman - Early Biography
Bob was born in New York in 1954 and has been involved in music since early childhood. A guitarist since age 6, Bob discovered National guitars at age 13. In their unique sound, the young Bob found his musical calling. He studied music and ethnomusicology at Washington University with an emphasis on the earliest roots of Delta blues. He has since also become a respected authority on historical Hawaiian music, publishing articles and amassing a large collection of 78rpm records. He has produced five re-issue albums from this collection on the Rounder and Folklyric labels, documenting the best of Hawaiian music from 1915 to 1935.
In 1988, Bob rediscovered the legendary 1929 Hawaiian recording artists, the Tau Moe Family. Together they recorded a landmark album, REMEMBERING THE SONGS OF OUR YOUTH, an historic re-creation of the family's genuine Hawaiian music from 60 years prior. The album was released in 1989 to rave international reviews, including the Library of Congress Select List Award. With N.E.A. funding, Bob began production of a feature-length documentary film about the Moe family and their amazing 54-year-long world tour.
Over the years, Bob's passion for National Guitars led him to build a large collection of these fascinating art-deco era instruments. After receiving a letter from the then-88-year-old inventor John Dopyera, Bob visited and became good friends with John and his family. This led to further research, and in 1993 Bob's massive work THE HISTORY AND ARTISTRY OF NATIONAL RESONATOR INSTRUMENTS was published internationally. He has also written for several music magazines concerning historical and instructional subjects.
Since his first solo album in 1981, Bob's repertoire of recordings has grown by over 30 titles to include 14 solo projects and at least a dozen collaborations with international friends. His ability to use the guitar as a portable translator of culture - coupled with his empathetic nature (through music, culture, and language), and seemingly boundless energy - enables him to establish genuine musical friendships based on respect and love of music. Bob's deep knowledge of musical history and arranging has enabled him to create large band arrangements and direct music for film, radio, television, and stage.
Bob is also working toward the creation of a foundation to help third-world musicians to obtain the musical basics that western musicians take for granted, such as playable instruments, strings, tuning gears, and basic recording equipment.
Bob maintains a nearly superhuman tour schedule throughout the year, every year. Live performance tours are a vital part Bob's activity, in addition to his collaborations. He tours constantly throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
As Bob says, "There's so much music out thereâ€¦I guess I'll get some sleep in the next life!"
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