“David Bromberg has such control of his audience that he can, at one moment, hold it in his hand with a tender, touching yet funny anecdotal song, and then set it romping and stomping with a raucous bit of raunch. He is electrifying.” – New York Times
“The extraordinary folk-blues guitarist David Bromberg has strolled back into the spotlight as abruptly as he resigned from it nearly three decades ago when he dissolved his fantastic and popular touring band in 1980 to study violin making... The fluid, orchestral invention of Bromberg’s fingerpicking — his original calling card on pivotal late-1960S and 1970S sessions for Jerry Jeff Walker (”Mr. Bojangles”) and Bob Dylan (New Morning) — is in undiminished bloom, invigorating sturdy old blues and ballads.” – Rolling Stone
In this intimate portrait, the legendary David Bromberg talks about his influences and performs the music he loves - a wide panorama of American blues, folk, country, bluegrass, ragtime, jazz and contemporary sounds.
Inspired by the music of Pete Seeger and the Weavers, among others, he began studying the guitar at age 13. After graduating from Tarrytown High School, he enrolled at Columbia University intent on a career as a musicologist. During this period he discovered the old recordings of Blind Blake, Lonnie Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Marshall Owens, Luke Jordan and other great country bluesmen, as well as contemporary recordings of B.B.King, Freddie King and Albert King. He studied with Rev. Gary Davis for several years and as Rev. Davis said, “I have no children but I have several sons”. David was a son to the great Reverend.
Drawn to Greenwich Village's flourishing coffeehouse folk music scene of the mid-1960’s, David left Columbia University and opted to devote full time to his music. Shortly thereafter, his extraordinary guitar picking and exceptional stylistic range brought him to the attention of many other musicians: Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Tom Paxton, and Chubby Checker are only a few of the notables who sought David out as a back-up artist for recording. In all he has played as a sideman on over 100 albums.
A singular performer/writer/arranger, David’s remarkable musical versatility and innovative resourcefulness have earned vast critical and popular acclaim. He is also impossible to classify: As one critic perceptively wrote, “David Bromberg fits no pigeonholes. He is part of everything contemporarily musical. He is a product of blues, country, jazz, folk, and classical music. From his early success as a guitar virtuoso, Mr. Bromberg has developed into a brilliant entertainer.”
Titles include: Demon In Disguise , Delia, Mule Riding Blues, Maple Leaf Rag, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Chump Man Blues, Levee Camp Moan, Try Me One More Time, Cocaine Blues, It Takes A Lot To Laugh a Train To Cry, Sleep Late In The Morning, Spanish John, Shebeg An Shemore, Buck Dancer’s Choice, Fool For You, This Month, Columbus Stockade, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, I Believe My Time Ain’t Long and Bluebird
Running Time: 102 minutes
Review: Meet David Bromberg-- for the first time all over again. After an extended leave-of-absence from the concert stage, the now fully recharged master guitarist has since resumed dazzling audiences. Here's dazzling proof. Although sharing a title track with his 1972 LP of the same name, this Demon In Disguise is a current meet-and-greet: a one-on-one DVD performance that provides quality alone time with the bearded bard and an acoustic guitar. True to form, Bromberg effortlessly unfurls the diverse 20-song set list like a one-man musical library, maneuvering from blues to bluegrass, ragtime to rock, gospel to folk. To sweeten the deal, he candidly fills in between songs with historical facts, vintage insight, and personal tales. Without ever blinking, he hops from Blind Blake ("Chump Man Blues") to Ray Charles ("Fool For You") and from former mentor Rev. Gary Davis ("Just A Closer Walk With Thee") to former employer Bob Dylan ("It Takes A Lot To Laugh, A Train To Cry"). "Try Me One More Time" gets squeezed out from beneath a steely slide, while fingerpicks crisply snap out "Maple Leaf Rag." For a touch as soft as a teardrop, the Celtic instrumental "Shebeg An Shemore," like the oldtime "Buck Dancer's Choice" and Lonnie Johnson's "Levee Camp Moan," is drop-dead gorgeous. And the need for speed still resides in the picker's paradise of "Columbus Stockade," which with blurred hand, he and guitarist Bobby Tangrea blaze in tandem. It's the next best thing to having Bromberg plunk down on your couch. – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag
Review: There was a time in 1970s when it was common to see David Bromberg, instrument case in hand, bustling down Greenwich Village streets on his way to various recording studios, practice sessions, club dates. He was the guitar man of the hour, putting six-string muscle into Dylan's repertoire, recording his own LPs for Columbia and getting considerable FM airplay for such songs as "You Got to Suffer to Sing the Blues." But that was more than three decades ago, and, sad to say, the shelf life for artists in the music biz, then and now, is only slightly longer than for the Playmates around Hefner's pool. The talent remains, but major label publicity machines move on to the next new face.
Bromberg, after a 17-year absence from the studio, surfaced last year with a new album, Try Me One More Time, on the small Appleseed label, home to Roger McGuinn, Donovan, John Wesley Harding and the heroic Pete Seeger. Now he's back on DVD with The Guitar Artistry of David Bromberg
For this release, Bromberg is playing solo, just his voice and guitar, and most of the 20 songs are traditional or carry credits for Robert Johnson ("I Believe My Time Ain't Long"), Blind Willie McTell ("Delia"), Blind Blake ("Chump Man Blues"), Son House ("Levee Camp Moan") and Bromberg's actual guitar teacher, the Rev. Gary Davis ("Cocaine Blues"). There's also a song by his old band boss Bob Dylan, the Highway 61 Revisited gem "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"; Ray Charles' "Fool for You" and, in a surprise move, Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (yes, the Judy Garland song).
Bromberg handles this material with expected success. His voice wobbles a trifle on slower songs, but Bromberg's guitar playing is as assured as ever. The Guitar Artistry of David Bromberg is a fine view for guitar fans interested in a player with good fingers and no need to stack speakers from here to Tinnitusville. – Bill Wasserzieher/Ugly Things