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Jerry Bergonzi: Shifting Gears

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Doin' The Hen"

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." Featuring a soulful touch, the band sports a driving impetus, yet doesn't adhere to a speed demon-like methodology.

Kicked off by Bruce Barth's capacious solo and Grenadier's bronzy voicings, Bergonzi follows via an authoritative gait, marked by brawny choruses and fluid runs, yet he also etches out the melody with sublime intonations. During his solo, he engages in some reengineering processes while tossing in a few accenting honks along the way. He steadily soars as bassist Dave Santoro summons the band back to the primary theme. Essentially, its timeless modern jazz in every sense, as Bergonzi's strong compositions, coupled with the quintet's radiant attack, yields a syndicate of gratifying factors.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Jerry Bergonzi: tenor saxophone; Phil Grenadier: trumpet; Bruce Barth: piano; Dave Santoro: bass; Andrea Michelutti: drums.

Title: Shifting Gears | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Savant Records

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