Bob Brozman was found dead at his home in Santa Cruz, California, 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 longtime 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.