Playing solo jazz requires skill and dexteritynot just as a player, but also in selecting the tunes and keeping the listener's attention locked in. Gene Bertoncini balances his program on Quiet Now with standards, classical tunes, and a Brazilian piece. He keeps the going tight; the CD clocks in under 42 minutes, time enough to make a statement and leave behind a sense of fulfillment. This stems not only from the selections, which suit his gentle, laid back approach and his crisp, translucent playing, but also the way he lets melody sweep across in warm tonal colours and lets harmony extend cogent expression.
Of the four medleys, his pairing of "Giant Steps" and "On a Misty Night may seem unusual until Bertoncini gets right to the gist. He slows down the pulse of the first and then invigorates the second with a bright harmonic touch, the contrast working well enough. Over on the classical side, he lets the melody of Schumann's "Traumerei fall softly, adding texture and harmonic depth through the use of the bass strings. He brings about the innate sentimentality of "My One and Only Love in slow exposition, never missing out on the underlying vibrancy, a quality that rises from the chunky chords he intersperses into the melody.
Track Listing: Lush Life/Isfahan, My One and Only Love, Giant Steps/On a Misty Night, Traumerei, So in Love/The More I See You, Olha Maria, Quiet Now, Nessun Dorma, Waltz for Debbie/Very Early, Theme from
The first jazz record I bought was a Verve compilation of 10 LPs! I saved for more than six months and gave it to myself as a
Christmas present. I was about 18 years old. Since then, my love for jazz has taken me to program the only jazz radio station in
Mexico City, Horizonte 107.9 FM.