The Player: A Retrospective

The Player: A Retrospective

The title of this retrospective tells you a lot about David Bromberg’s image of himself. Not a rock star, not a singer, not even a songwriter—but a player. Musicianship was his main focus, making him a favorite companion of some of the most famous musicians of the '70s, which is the period surveyed by this retrospective. The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, among others, repeatedly sought out Bromberg’s talent. These performances demonstrate why. Bromberg was an openminded expert, and though he took music seriously, he never took himself too seriously. That’s why so many of these songs have a loose, all-inclusive air about them—as if music wasn't something that could be schemed or planned but something that naturally unfolded in the company of good friends. The proceedings are in turn uproarious (“Sharon”), understated (“The Main Street Moan”), wily (“The Holdup—Harrison Version”), and majestic (“The Holdup—Dead Version”). Bromberg’s dry wit and warped vulnerability is revealed on his solo performances: “Mr. Bojangles,” “Sammy’s Song,” “Statesboro Blues,” and “Dehlia.”

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