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Internationally Beloved World Blues Musician, Bob Brozman, Passes Away at Age 59
by Denise Ryan
Friday Apr 26th, 2013 1:42 AM
Santa Cruz, California (April 25, 2013) Bob Brozman was found dead at his home in Santa Cruz, CA in the evening of April 23, 2013. Brozman, the steel-guitar innovator who got his start playing on the streets of Santa Cruz, died at age 59.
A legend in the world of blues and roots music who integrated styles from all around the world into his music, Brozman was one of the world’s most beloved musical figures. His uniquely bold playing style and banter with the audience at his live shows gave him the opportunity not just to entertain with his sharp wit, but also challenge core assumptions about the function of rhythm and sound.

“Bob is beloved to me, and to so many in so many countries,” says long-time friend and pianist, George Winston. “His legacy will live on and will no doubt become the standard-bearer to musical innovators for decades to come.”

Born in New York on March 8, 1954, Brozman was a world traveler who thrived on collaborating with the best musicians he could find from many different musical traditions. Known as the “King of the National Guitar,” his trademark guitar sound came from National steel guitars that he discovered at age 13. He wrote “The History and Artistry of National Resonator Instruments,” and was the world authority on vintage and modern National Reso-Phonic guitars.

His body of recorded work spanned over 30 years. His most recent release was last year’s Fire in the Mind. Since his first solo album in 1981, Bob's repertoire of recordings has grown by over 30 titles to include 14 solo projects and at least a dozen collaborations with international friends. His ability to use the guitar as a portable translator of culture - coupled with his empathetic nature (through music, culture, and language) and seemingly boundless energy - enabled him to establish genuine musical friendships based on respect and love of music. Bob's deep knowledge of musical history and arranging created extensive band arrangements and music for film, radio, television, and stage.

Bob is survived by his wife and partner of 15 years, Haley Sage Robertson Brozman, daughter Zoe Brozman, 20, and brothers in NYC along with a tremendous international community of friends and fans. It is their desire to carry out Bob’s vision in the creation of a foundation to help third-world musicians obtain the musical basics that western musicians take for granted, such as playable instruments, strings, tuning gears, and basic recording equipment.

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by Razer Ray
Friday Apr 26th, 2013 6:46 AM
[Video: "Cosmic Chris", someone who also passed much too young, with The Santa Cruz Song, unknown date, at the Java House. There's approximately 2 minutes of blank footage at the end. Let's call it a 2 minute silent tribute to musician and Street Performer Extraordinaire Bob Brozman]

The last I knew Bob was living in Hawaii using his ethno-musicological skills to catalog the similarities between music native to the Pacific and American country music.

Bob, if not one of the founders of the Santa Cruz Street Performer's Guild, was very close to it's founders in ALL ways. He and Keith Greeninger headlined a a sold out benefit for that organization at Louden Nelson center a number of years back. I had the pleasure of stage managing that show.

I remember when Bob would play on the streets he drew such a large crowd the police "had no choice" but to tell him to leave... Just in case anyone's wondering where the culture "organic" Santa Cruz went. They got chased away or priced out of the corruptly developed housing and job market, leaving them unable to afford a garret to live in, eventually leaving the hard case winos speedfreaks and junkies behind in place of anything resembling a happily benign counterculture.

I see NO ATTEMPT by the jokers who run this city to remedy that. I just see more insult to injury for anything resembling FREE ART on a daily basis and I WILL SCOFF at any attempt to memorialize Bob by the city's current cretins-in-charge.

As an aside, EVERYTHING his friend Tom Scribner, ANOTHER city-pimped-for-publicity local musician and living piece of American history used to do while bowing his saw downtown is thoroughly illegal now thanks to the wise wise "lawmaking" of our city's development interest bought City council.
by Ghost of Tom Joad
Friday Apr 26th, 2013 8:37 AM
“Commercial music is designed to make people stupid.” —Bob Brozman

Videos and remembrances: