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Review: Bob Brozman

26 November 1999

A unique blend of music and humour

By Douglas Kennedy

American blues guitar maestro Bob Brozman, who has been called the Groucho Marx of the Blues with Seven Languages, is quick off the mark with a fast quip en-route to the Gold Coast.

"I love Australia, it's like America without the Americans," says Brozman.

The one-liner is in contrast to Brozman's resume which includes references to his academic understanding of Hawaiian music, a degree in ethnomusicology from Washington University and a definitive work simply titled The History and Artistry of National Resonator Instruments.

Brozman flatly denies that his show, which has won a legion of fans in the past two decades, is anything more than fun.

"The idea is that everyone has a lot of fun and that's not just the musician," says Brozman.

"We come up with lots of lines and funny bits and I throw myself around with the instruments using guitars like a full drum set, delivering hard-driving rhythms, searing slides and quick-changing techniques."

Brozman, who hails from New York, is a master of blues, slide, hot jazz and Hawaiian and Caribbean guitar styles and combines a repertoire of guitar acrobatics with a disarming talent for humour.

"I'm not sure where it came from because apart from an uncle who ran the first nightclub showcasing black and white talent, Cafe Society, the family wasn't really into music," says Brozman.

"I was born in 1954 and at the age of five decided that guitar was all that I wanted to do with my life."

Brozman went to university and became an itinerant musician discovering a great variety of guitar music from various places, including Hawaii.

He first gained wide recognition in 1988 when he recorded a landmark album with the legendary Hawaiian recording artists, The Tau Moe Family. The album was released in 1989 to rave international reviews, receiving the prestigious Library of Congress Select List Award.

Gold Coast Arts Centre public relations manager Sharon Doerr says Brozman has a deep knowledge of musical history and a talent for arranging large bands.

He will play the Gold Coast Arts Restaurant on Sunday from 1:30 pm.

"Coast audiences have a unique opportunity to enjoy the incomparable talents of Bob Brozman in a fast-moving, wide ranging performance, combining exceptional wit, music, energy and knowledge," says Ms Doerr.

Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar

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