The Bob Brozman Orchestra: “Lumiere de la Mer” (Lumiere, 2007)

Yesterday, the extraordinary guitarist and extraordinary person Bob Brozman died at just 59.

Brozman is not a household name, but he was gifted instrumentalist with a curious ear who struck out around the world looking for new sounds and incorporating them into his polyglot playing style. His favored instrument was the National guitar, a gleaming steel-bodied acoustic with a resonance nearly as ebullient as his playing. 

What I get most from Brozman’s music is an overwhelming sense of joy. Joy in discovery, joy in making these sounds come out of this beautiful instrument, joy in creation, joy in life. Brozman loved the world and reached out to grab it. He was capable of holding most of it in his fretting and picking hands. 

In 2007, he released Lumiere under the name the Bob Brozman Orchestra. The joke of the group name is that the orchestra is all Bob Brozman, playing dozens of stringed instruments, including his beloved National over the top. That picture of the “Bob Brozman Orchestra” is Brozman 27 times, holding each of the instruments he plays on the album, including sax, mallet percussion and hand percussion in addition to all those strings.

"Lumiere de la Mer" is more a controlled explosion than a song, three minutes and thirteen seconds that feel as though they want to burst apart from the sheer amount of energy and happiness inside. It’s like finding out someone you love is in love with you too. 

I can’t thank Brozman enough for the music he left behind. I’ll be listening to him all night.