When Winnipeg-born Sam Broverman attended the University of Manitoba in the early ’70s, he was both student and entertainer. Having made his way singing in high school and college musicals, rock ‘n’ roll bands and whatever he could do to keep his singing in the foreground, he eventually studied voice at the Faculty of Music while also studying Mathematics. His involvement in Winnipeg theatre and cabaret productions, together with singing commercial jingles, helped cover his tuition while appearances on TV (Hymn Sing, The Doug Crosley Show) kept his name in the limelight. Yet, once accepted by both the Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Science in Mathematics for graduate school, he took the road of Mathematics ultimately leading to a full-time professorship in Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Toronto. Some 30 years later, having also been a regular contributor with Toronto’s Mendelssohn Choir since ’83, the passion to perform has never left him and has, in fact, only amplified over the years.
At the age of 60, Sam Broverman has had another dream come true, releasing Dream Maker, Heartbreaker Sam Broverman sings Johnny Mercer. Broverman’s debut is a direct statement of total respect, if not complete awe, for the great Johnny Mercer and his reputation as one of the original American pop music legends. Joined by the cream of Toronto’s most notable jazz and blues musicians including Kevin Turcotte, George Koller, Lenny Solomon, Chris and Ken Whiteley Sam has realized a lifetime of musical ambition. Feeling the itch and needing it scratched, Broverman has more recently taken his passion on the road to tours in Winnipeg, Vancouver, New York City and Hong Kong.
Each of the dozen songs penned by the King of the American Popular Songbook of the ’30s-’60s bear out Broverman’s love of each time-honoured composition. He takes absolute control over each and every lyric, revealing a swinging sense of hip that passing years just can’t touch. Bringing the pop of one era into the popular ear of today’s audience is no minor accomplishment. Big name acts like Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Bublé and even Rod Stewart have paved the way for a rebirth of these classics, recalling the greats like Mel Tormé, Johnny Hartman, Frank, Dean and Sammy who, in their turn, echoed giants like Count Basie, Billy Eckstine and Louis Armstrong. Songs like ‘Goody Goody’, ‘Laura’ and ‘In The Cool, Cool, Cool o the Evening’ come alive in Broverman’s care, supported by expert musicianship recalling the era in glowing detail. Sophisticated, romantic, cool and collected with just a hint of whimsy Broverman owns these tracks still familiar to most ears, proving once again they remain forever timeless.
Sometimes you wait for just the right moment to make your move, biding your time and perfecting the lessons the craft can teach you. Broverman has made just the right move at just the right time. As he sings Mercer’s feel-good ‘I¹m Old-Fashioned’ atop George Koller¹s elegant bass line and a bank of strummed guitars, there’s no question there’s plenty of room in today’s musical vocabulary for music that ‘accentuates the positive’ while celebrating all that is carefree, exuberant, sentimental and suitably refined. Bravo, Sam. The timing is perfect.