Alan Broadbent

Alan Broadbent

Alan Broadbent was first given the opportunity to work with a major orchestra when Woody Herman hired him as a writer, arranger and soloist in 1969--only three years after he had moved to Boston from his native New Zealand to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

After spending three years touring and recording with Herman, he settled in Los Angeles in 1972 and went on to work as a sideman for trumpeter Chet Baker, tenor saxophonists Warne Marsh and Gary Foster and the late singer Irene Kral. The 1990s found him working with everyone from alto saxman Bud Shank to the great arranger Nelson Riddle.

Broadbent first recorded under his own name in 1981, when the small Revelation Records released Continuity, a duet with Putter Smith. As a leader and trio pianist, he recorded two albums for the New Zealand based Kiwi Pacific label--Song of Home in 1984 and Further Down The Road in 1986--before signing with Discovery Records and recording such trio albums as Everything I Love and Away From You.

The 1990s saw the beginning of Broadbent's associations with Natalie Cole and bassist Charlie Haden's Quartet West--a unique L.A. -based band uniting Haden and Broadbent with tenor saxo-phonist Ernie Watts and veteran drummer Larance Marable. In contrast to Haden's adventures in avant-garde jazz, the very "inside" and standards-oriented Quartet West has celebrated American pre-rock culture by including brief excerpts of music and films from 1930s and 40s films along-side its interpretations of standards. When Natalie Cole made the transition from R&B/pop music to jazz-influenced pre-rock pop with 1991's five million-selling Unforgettable With Love, Broadbent was among those employed as a sideman and later arranger.

Recent years have found Broadbent featured as a sidemen on albums by improvisers ranging from guitarist Lee Ritenour (Wes Bound) to harmonica player Toots Thielemans (East Coast, West Coast) to clarinetist/tenor saxman Eddie Daniels (The Five Seasons). Broadbent's association with Concord Jazz has so far resulted in his handling elaborate orchestral arrangements for singer Mel Torme (A Tribute To Bing Crosby in 1994),tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton (Scott Hamilton With Strings in 1994) and most recently, fellow pianist Marian McPartland (Silent Pool). His own Concord albums have included the 1995 trio date Pacific Standard Time; a duo with Gary Foster (Concord Duo Series, Vol. 4: Alan Broadbent - Gary Foster); a 1980 outing co-starring Bud Shank and Bill Mays (Crystal Comments) and an unaccompanied solo-piano offering for the label's extensive Live At Maybeck Recital Hall series.

"The thing I love about playing jazz is that it's a lifelong process," Broadbent comments. "It's a process of continued growth. To me, jazz is the art form that's dedicated to reaching people emotionally and making sense out of the chaos that surrounds us, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of it all this time."