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Wayne Bergeron: Full Circle

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Track and field aficionados will remember Olympic gold-medal-winning high-jumper, Dick Fosbury. Fosbury revolutionized his event by developing an unorthodox "backward flop" to hurdle the bar. No flop, for sure, but Full Circle from trumpeter Wayne Bergeron and his stellar Los Angeles teammates raise every aspect of the trumpeting and big band bar to atmospheric heights.

Bergeron, a mainstay in the L.A. studios, is revered for his high note precision and acrobatic ability on the horn. His talent to deftly navigate and retain the ultimate in sound, phrasing and musicianship "up there" is beyond approach. However, with Full Circle Bergeron also flexes his superior improvisational chops which, sadly, aren't as frequently on display when the red light is burning. But, rest assured, here he burns.

The material presented acknowledges what's come before and pushes the compositional, arranging and performing envelope. From George Stone's slick, retro cop-show-cooker, "Bernie's Journey," Dan Higgins' ice-cool "Seasoned Traveler," Wally Minko's tropic-tasty "Jig," and his habanera fiery title cut (featuring Arturo Sandoval with Bergeron) and on throughout, you can tell that these heavy-hitters all left the studio sans derriere. Bergeron's Gordon Goodwin-arranged salute to Hollywood studio trumpeter, the late Uan Rasey ("Theme from Chinatown") is covered brilliantly. Sammy Nestico's dual-tempoed "Pair of Aces" has sax man Eric Marienthal and Bergeron "body heat" blue, then each stretches out over hard-swinging tight ensemble playing. Other soloists of note include tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard and bass trombonist, Bill Reichenbach on his re-invented samba-and-swing-flavored "Body and Soul."

Bergeron's deeply emotional ballad playing and ensuing improv chops on "Wayn-ology," deliver a textbook on same. You'd swear that Dan Higgins' swinger "First Impression," (along with Snooky Young and his plunger) fell out of the Count Basie bus. "A Bone to Pick" is an up-tempoed J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding duo flight with Reichenbach and Andy Martin as co-pilots. "James Bond Medley" covers familiar 007 themes with Bergeron saluting Bond band-guy, the late Derek Watkins (and obviously buckling a lady's knees).

Kudos to the superlative rhythm sections, as well as to Gary Grant who meticulously produced.

Yes, our aforementioned high jumper got his gold, But, after spending an hour-plus with Full Circle, it's easy to imagine Mr. Bergeron gathering his own prize. This one in the shape of a small Victrola.

Track Listing: Bernie's Journey,Seasoned Traveler,Jig,Theme from Chinatown,Full Circle, A Pair of Aces, Body and Soul, Wayn-ology,First Impression, A Bone to Pick,James Bond Medley.

Personnel: Wayne Bergeron: trumpet/flugelhorn (All); Arturo Sandoval (5);(Tracks 10, 4, 8): trumpets: Dan Fornero (lead), Gary Grant, Rick Baptist, Larry Hall; Tombones: Andy Martin, Alan Kaplan, Bob McChesney, Bill Reichenbach; Saxophones/Woodwinds: Dan Higgins (lead alto/soprano); Sal Lozano (alto); Bill Liston (tenor), Rusty Higgins (tenor), Greg Huckins (bari/bass clarinet); rhythm section: Christian Jacob: piano, Barb Catlin: Rhodes (8); Trey Henry: bass; Dom Moio: percussion (4); Joey DeLeon: percussion (8); Strings (4, 8): Violins: Songa Lee (Concertmaster), Becky Bunnell, Alyssa Park, Mark Robertson, Kathleen Sloan, Serena McKinney; Violas: Rob Brophy, Caroline Buckman, Cello: Peggy Baldwin, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith. (Tracks 3, 5): trumpets: Dan Fornero (lead), Gary Grant, Larry Hall, Rick Baptist; Trombones: Andy Martin, Alan Kaplan, Bob McChesney, Bill Reichenbach; Saxophones/Woodwinds: Dan Higgins (lead alto/flute); Sal Lozano (alto); Bill Liston (tenor), Rusty Higgins (tenor), Greg Huckins (bari/bass clarinet); rhythm section: Wally Minko: piano, Jimmy Johnson: bass, Dave Weckl: drums, Dom Moio: percussion (5),Adrian Areas: percussion (3); Tracks 6,9): trumpets: Chuck Findley (lead, 6), Gary Grant (lead, 9), Larry Hall, Rob Schaer; Trombones: Andy Martin, Charlie Loper, Alex Iles, Bill Reichenbach; saxophones/woodwinds: Dan Higgins (lead alto/flute), brian Scanlon (alto/flute), Rusty Higgins (tenor/flute), Tom Luer (tenor/clarinet); Greg huckins (bari/clarinet); rhythm section: Alan Pasqua, piano; Dustin Higgins: guitar; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Peter Erskine: drums; (Tracks 1,2,7): trumpets: Dan Fornero (lead 1,2), Wayne Bergeron (lead 7), Rob Schaer, Larry Hall, Jamie Havorka; trombones: Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Steve Hoffman, Bill Reichenbach; saxophones/woodwinds: Dan Higgins (lead alto/soprano/piccolo), Sal Lozano (alto/flute), Rusty Higgins (tenor), Kirsten Hedkins (tenor), Greg Huckins (bari); rhythm section: Christian Jacob, Trey Henry: bass; Ray Brinker: drums; Brian Kilgore: vibes (1); (Track 11): trumpets/flugelhorns: Gary Grant (lead), Larry Hall, Wayne Bergeron; trombones: Andy Martin, Bill Reichenbach; saxophones/woodwinds: Dan Higgins; rhythm section: Mary Louise Knutson: piano; Jim Anton: bass; Petar Janjic: drums; Cory Wong: guitar; Hornheads: Steve Strand, Dave Jensen: trumpets; Michael B. Nelson: trombone; Kenni Holman: tenor sax; Kathy Jenson: baritone sax.

Title: Full Circle | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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