HEAR TODAY BROADBENT PERSPECTIVE.
Piano virtuoso Alan Broadbent is one of those musicians other musicians revere.
Dubbed by the All Music Guide ``an unsung hero of the acoustic piano,'' Broadbent worked on two orchestral albums with Diana Krall, serving as her musical director; was a member of Charlie Haden's film noir project Quartet West; and conducted the 52-piece Metropole Orkest for Elvis Costello on the acclaimed ``My Flame Burns Blue'' album.
Broadbent, a New Zealand native who lives in Los Angeles, has worked in bands led by Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini, and was a prime mover in Grammy Award-winning albums (winning the best arrangement honor in 1997 for the song ``When I Fall in Love'' by Natalie Cole and in 2000 for ``Lonely Town'' by Quartet West with Shirley Horn).
As a solo artist, he's been twice Grammy-
nominated for best instrumental solo -- on ``You and the Night and the Music'' and earlier this year for `` `Round Midnight.'' His latest effort is the gorgeous ``Every Time I Think of You'' (Artistry Music; $17.98), in which thoughtful string arrangements add weight to a set of 10 standards and originals.
We reached the 59-year-old Broadbent -- who frequently plays at Spazio in Sherman Oaks -- to discuss his new record.
< Q: What did you have in mind when composing these unusual string arrangements?
A: It can be the most expressive of instruments. Usually, strings are used to sweeten songs with the chords playing in the background, but I like using them in the provocative way Stan Getz used them on his early '60s album ``Focus.'' Strings don't have to be syrupy; they can be exciting and emotional with a deeper purpose.
Q: How is the Los Angeles jazz scene from the viewpoint of a working musician?
A: Pretty bleak, actually. We all have to make our own scene. There's a whole cadre of musicians and listeners who take the music seriously and go out and support it, but it's a very hard life. And it takes guts. The problem is, there's little incentive these days for people who may not be deeply into jazz to go out and experience it for themselves.
Q: Your version of Thelonious Monk's
`` `Round Midnight'' was nominated for a Grammy and became a favorite of musicians. What was in your mind when you recorded it?
A: It was how I was feeling at the time. I was thinking of Monk and the Manhattan skyline. It was an accumulation of things.
Here's a sample of other new releases in stores this week:
Sting interprets the music of John Dowland, one of the great Elizabethan composers, in ``Songs From the Labyrinth'' (Deutsche Grammophon; $18.98).
Rod Stewart interprets the '70s and '80s songbook on ``Still the Same ... Great Rock Classics of Our Time'' (J-Records; $18.98).
Among a spate of Christmas releases this week is ``James Taylor at Christmas'' (Sony; $18.98).
Hilary Hahn delivers romantic violin showpieces in ``Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1/ Spohr's Violin Concerto No. 8'' (Deutsche Grammophon; $16.98).
The Lemony Snicket book series gets a musical companion in ``The Tragic Treasury: Songs From a Series of Unfortunate Events'' (Nonesuch; $18.98).
Also in stores:
``Take the Weather With You,'' Jimmy Buffett (RCA; $18.98)
``A Chorus Line,'' new Broadway cast recording (Sony; $18.98)
``Long Island Shores,'' Mindy Smith (Vanguard; $18.98)
``Hello Love,'' The Be Good Tanyas (Nettwerk; $15.98)
``Cool Yule,'' Bette Midler (Columbia; $18.98)
``Rotten Apple,'' Lloyd Banks (G-Unit; $13.98)
``Colorblind,'' Robert Randolph (WEA; $18.98)
``Marie Antoinette,'' soundtrack (Verve Forecast; $17.99)
``Simply Anne-Sophie,'' Anne-Sophie Mutter (Deutsche Grammophon; $16.98)
``Still Searching,'' Senses Fail (Vagrant; $18.98)
``Now Christmas Vol. 3,'' various (Strategic; $19.98)
American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock (1980-86),'' various (Rhino; $15.98)
(1) ``Strings don't have to be syrupy; they can be exciting and emotional with a deeper purpose,'' says pianist Alan Broadbent, whose latest work is ``Every Time I Think of You.''
(2) no caption (CD cover)