After studying composition and arranging at the
Berklee College of Music and privately with Lennie
Tristano, New Zealand born Alan Broadbent got
his first major job as pianist, writer and arranger for
Woody Herman. The year was 1969, just three years
after Broadbent had moved to the United States from
his native New Zealand.
During his tenure with Herman, Broadbent was
recognized by Downbeat Magazine with its “Best
Arranger” Award, as well as two Grammy nominations.
Subsequently, Broadbent moved to Los Angeles.
Known as a sensitive accompanist, his professional
engagements at that time included touring and
recording dates with Chet Baker, Johnny Mandel,
Henry Mancini, Mel Torme and dozens more.
Soon thereafter, what began
as a big band dance gig turned into a ten-year stint
with Nelson Riddle, playing with the line-up from the Frank Sinatra
days. In the 1980’s, Alan became a member of Charlie Haden’s
Quartet West, the acclaimed
combo that incorporates thematic elements from film (most notably,
40’s film noir)
into their recordings. Alan wrote many of Quartet West’s arrangements,
adding strings to their saxophone/piano/bass/drums configuration.
While continuing to play with Haden, Alan’s
reputation as an arranger led to
collaborations with artists such as Natalie Cole in the 1990’s,
winning a Grammy
for his treatment of “When I Fall In Love” in 1997 and
another for “Lonely Town”
with Quartet West and guest vocalist Shirley Horn in 2000.
Diana Krall hired Alan to be her Musical
Director on her orchestral dates in 2002
(Krall studied piano with Broadbent and he’s appeared on several
of her recordings
as well). However, it’s Broadbent’s solo work (including
his 2005 CD, “Round
Midnight” for which he received a Grammy nomination in the “Best
Solo” category and his latest, “Every Time I Think Of
which has garnered
increased attention of late. Said Don Heckman of the Los
Angeles Times of
Broadbent: “…over and over, his solos offered instantly
inventive new melodies filled
with attention-grabbing sequences and arching, lyrical phrases—the
product of a
sophisticated, intensely communicative mind.” Jazz
it up: “One of
the major keyboard figures of the day."