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Jerry Bergonzi: Two More DVDs from the Master Educator

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There are plenty of stellar musicians who can't teach and plenty of fine educators who lack the skills or know-how to play at a top-tier level. There aren't a lot of internationally acclaimed musicians who are also viewed the world over as exceptional teachers; saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi is one of the few. Bergonzi has traveled plenty with his horn, playing his own music and backing up bigwigs across the globe, but he's made an even bigger impact in the world of jazz education. He's managed to share his wisdom through master classes, Inside Improvisation--his series of books ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Jerry Bergonzi: Eternal Student

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Jerry Bergonzi is regarded as one of the most important saxophonists in the world. Equally, he continues to make significant contributions in the world of jazz education. He is the author of Inside Improvisations Series (Jazzwise Publications), a manual developed in seven volumes--his eighth book is due to come out soon--that has become essential for jazz students around the world.The only element that speaks to time is his white hair, because his enthusiasm hasn't changed since recently deceased pianist Dave Brubeck hired him to tour with his quartet. Thirty years of success have passed since then: Bergonzi has ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Bergonzi: Shifting Gears

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Gifted tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi has proven to be among the best in the business, spanning a hefty solo career amid numerous guest spots and session duties for others. With this quintet release, the leader hearkens back to the modern jazz ingenuity and reverence of 1960s-era outings for the likes of the Blue Note and Prestige record labels. However, the musicians' respective styles impart a distinct group-centric sound, streaked with a contemporary vibe. Bergonzi and trumpeter Phil Grenadier's warm unison phrasings atop drummer Andrea Michelutti's swaggering swing groove, blossoms into a roomy stretching vehicle on “Doin' The Hen." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: If Not Inertia

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A few decades ago, it wasn't evident that computers could become an integral component to music, other than some experimental persuasions set forth by the likes of eminent modern jazz trombonist George Lewis, who helped pioneer live electronics. But trombonist Brett Sroka carries the torch, yet in a different or, perhaps, more subtle light. With first-call avant-garde guitarist Mary Halvorson injecting her sinewy, odd-tuned phrasings, and acoustic guitarist Sebastian Kruger appearing on one track of If Not Inertia, the band's gradually ascending theme-building exercises often cast an ethereal panorama, cloaked with haunting dissimilarities or tempestuous free form dialogues.

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Jerry Bergonzi: Two DVDs from the Master Educator

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Tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi has spent decades honing his skills and he has the discography to prove it. Strong solo dates on the RED, Double-Time and Savant labels, along with notable sideman work with legends such as pianist Dave Brubeck, have earned him the respect of his peers and the reputation of being a no-nonsense force of nature on his instrument, but his best work may take place in the classroom. Bergonzi has been codifying and passing along his hard-earned wisdom since he began teaching in the early 1980s. Students flock to the New England Conservatory to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Bergonzi: Convergence

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Saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi has become one of the most reliable recording artists in jazz. In between his day job as a Berklee College of Music professor, and performing, he turns out a great album or two every year. Featuring mostly tenor horn, Convergence follows dutifully in that pattern. The album splits between a classic piano-based quartet and the more risky piano-less trio with equally good results. Bergonzi, who also overdubs soprano sax for a few tracks, has no problem carrying the trio, revealing no weaknesses in an unforgiving, nowhere-to-hide lineup. The lone cover on the album, George and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Bergonzi: Three Point Shot

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Musicians often benefit from the stimulus provided by a interacting with a new group of cohorts. If nothing else, personnel changes can remake the creative process and offer dramatically altered results. In an art form like jazz, that leans heavily on improvisation, this can only be a good thing. It is, therefore, a pleasant surprise to hear tenor saxophonist/educator Jerry Bergonzi working with an altogether different rhythm section in Europe, consisting of two Polish musicians. Better still, this trio has released Three Point Shot. A trio album leaves no place for the lead instrument to hide. In ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

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During the past two decades, electronic music has solidified its initial uneasy alliance with acoustic jazz. Newer releases such as Ergo's Multitude, Solitude are able to get past that original awkward balance and meld electronics with jazz improvisation and instrumental technique. The result is a trio that interacts like one but also accesses the broader sound palette and ambience that electronics allow. On most tunes, trombonist Brett Sroka remains at the music's center and in only rare instances plays over the electronics. This ability to interact in a “jazzy" manner is not only due to Sroka's comfort ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

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This is a trio working the electro-acoustic margins, as the instrumental line-up might suggest; and whilst Ergo's music often flirts with ambient notions, there is equally a predominant air of unease about their work, as if by mutual consent they can only reach a kind of uneasy rapprochement with both silence and the moment.

The air of the unresolved--which is also sometimes symptomatic of their work--could similarly be the outcome of shared resolve. Indeed without that air the lengthy “Vessel" might congeal into something only too ambient in its very lack of harmonic and melodic development. As it is, this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

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Keyboardist Carl Maguire is a multifaceted artiste, often-heralded for his work in various jazz-related formats for Between The Lines, MoonJune Records and other progressive record labels. On this trio's second CD, Maguire, trombonist/computer operator Brett Sroka and drummer Shawn Baltazor spawn an experimental muse, where rigid definitions or categorizations, justifiably fall flat. Essentially, the respective artists rely on synergy and intuition to get the job done. And that is a good thing, since the cutting-edge aspects translate into an endearing mode of entertainment that is engineered upon various acoustic-electric abstracts.

The band delves into numerous jazz improvisation and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

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As jazz leans away from characteristics that so defined its earliest days, groups are emerging with unorthodox instrumental combinations, fleshed out by the vast potential of technological soundscaping. Ergo, at its core, seems as unconventional as they get--trombone, keyboards, drums--creating music that wouldn't have been possible before relatively recent innovations in sound processing and sampling/looping. Its 2005 indie debut, Quality Anatomechanical Music Since 2005, received significant critical acclaim, making its follow-up on the better-distributed Cuneiform label a sure bet for similar attention. For fans of the improvised, electronics-centric music heralded by the Norwegian musicians in the extended Punkt family, Multitude, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fernando Huergo: Living These Times

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Bassist Fernando Huergo mixes Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and mainstream jazz grooves on Living These Times, an energetic collection of original music for the East Coast-based Blue Music Group label. The Argentinean-native is aided by an outstanding cast of musical companions, including vocalist Luciana Souza, flutist Anders Bostrom and pianist Alan Mallet. With the amount of bass solos heard throughout the recording, there's no mistaking this is a bassist's project. As a soloist, Huergo is exceptional, demonstrating horn-like flourishes on both electric and upright bass. Tunes such as the opening “Albiazul," “The Reason We Don't Get Along" and the title ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Bergonzi: Simply Put

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Jerry Bergonzi is a true giant among modern day saxophonists. The Boston-based artist's fourth effort for Savant is perhaps his finest solo outing to date, amid his extensive output as a first-call session ace. No frills or reinventions here, as Bergonzi cuts to the chase in buoyant fashion via his full- bodied tenor sax sound and razor sharp lines, dappled with edgy phrasings, and lyrically resplendent phrasings.

The saxophonist transmits an authoritative presence, abetted by his ace rhythm section. A brilliant improviser, Bergonzi whirls through medium to up-tempo swing grooves, interlaced with ferocious bop stylizations and sinuous unison ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Bergonzi: Tenor Talk

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Jerry Bergonzi, a Bostonian who has been plying his trade for more than four decades, often slips through the cracks when the names of accomplished post-bop tenor saxophonists are bandied about. Rather strange, as Bergonzi has had a notable career as a player/educator that has included quality time with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, among others, and Tenor Talk is the twenty-fifth recording he has made as leader of his own groups. In spite of this, Bergonzi is better known in Europe than in the States, perhaps because he prefers to hang out in his home town (where he teaches at ...



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