Born: September 19, 1945 Primary Instrument: Guitar
After several years of inactivity on the touring front, David Bromberg is beginning to reappear on the live concert scene. Bromberg has reunited the “big band” several times over the last few years and 2003 will see the band come together at least twice for two short runs early in the year. David is also beginning to play more with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason in their show titled “An Evening of American Acoustic Music”. This show creates an eclectic musical journey through several uniquely American music forms. The show features the early works of Stephen Foster, the Texas swing of Bob Wills, Cajun fiddle tunes, Delta and Chicago Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and much more.
Bromberg’s live show remains as unique as ever. Concerts by David and his band are extraordinary events, and performances follow no set pattern of selection. Give and take between performer is complete, spontaneous, and totally sincere. As the NY Times noted “He 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.”
Born in Philadelphia on September 19, 1945. Bromberg grew up in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Drawn to Greenwich Village's flourishing coffeehouse folk music scene in the mid-1960’s, Bromberg opted for performance combined with his studies; he left school in the middle of his second year, however, 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, John Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Tom Paxton, and Chubby Checker are only a few of the notables who sought Bromberg 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, Bromberg’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.” In 1970 Bromberg decided to go it on his own and, following a spectacular, unscheduled performance at England’s Isle of Wight Festival that year, he was signed to his first recording contract, which resulted in the release of four albums: David Bromberg, Demon in Disguise, Wanted Dead or Alive, and Midnight on the Water with Columbia, now Sony. Two compilation albums have subsequently been released. In the spring of 1977 Bromberg moved to the San Francisco Bay where he recorded several albums for Fantasy, including the double album How Late’ll Ya Play ‘Til?.
In the fall of 1980 Bromberg dissolved his band and moved to Chicago where four years later he was graduated from the Kenneth Warren School of Violin Making. The late eighties and early nineties saw Bromberg tour only occasionally and mostly as a solo artist. Bromberg now considers these occasional reunions as a way to see old friends and play great music again. Preferring to spend time with his family and to buy and sell violins, the days on the road for extended periods simply do not fit his primary interests as a father and businessman.
Bromberg has currently left Chicago and returned east. He and his family have settled in Wilmington, Delaware. David has opened a retail violin shop in that city’s downtown Market Street area. The shop specializes in sales and repair as well as bow and violin making.
With his return to the east coast, Bromberg fans can expect to see and hear a lot more from him.