310

Gene Bertoncini / Roni Ben-Hur: Smile: Jazz Therapy Volume 1

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Gene Bertoncini / Roni Ben-Hur: Smile: Jazz Therapy Volume 1 This is a terrific release for several reasons. For one thing, everyone involved in the CD's creation and promotion donated their services, which funnels all proceeds directly to the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund of the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey. According to Jana Herzen, president of Motema Music, Smile:Jazz Therapy Volume 1 is the first of a series that will benefit this and other Jazz Foundation of America projects. As a result, a worthy cause matches the music's high quality.



Smile can legitimately claim to justify its therapeutic subtitle: as relaxed and amiable as a conversation between two old friends (which it actually is), each of the ten tracks is soothing and full of light. It's a limited format, consists of Gene Bertoncini on acoustic and Roni Ben-Hur on electric guitar, but variations in material and arrangements keep things interesting, moreover, given their similar lyrical sensibilities, they never get in each other's way.



This program includes a fresh take on singer Roberta Flack's 70s hit, "Killing Me Softly," underscoring how pretty this song still is. A sensuous "I Concentrate on You" benefits from Bertoncini's signature re-harmonization, while the title track was such fun that one of the players expels a delighted breath at the end. Bassist Earl May was originally slated to perform on this release but died unexpectedly in January, 2008; the inclusion of Dizzy Gillespie and Ray Brown's "That's Earl, Brother" is a tribute to all the musicians' sunny personalities.



There's still more humor in Bertoncini's tweaking of Toots Thieleman's "Bluesette" dubbed "Set Blue" and the sly Dizzy quotes that Ben-Hur embeds in "Sofia's Butterfly." Together they remove years of kitsch from "Besame Mucho," restoring its original gleam. Another peak is their meditation on the beautiful Harold Arlen tune, "Out of this World."



As a psychologist, I'd be happy to prescribe Smile:Jazz Therapy Volume 1 to anyone in need of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy...hmmm...whenever you read this, Christmas is sure to be coming...



To learn more about the Jazz Foundation, see the article Beauty and the Beasts: Wendy Oxenhorn vs Homelessness, Poverty, Illness, and Despair.

Visit Gene Bertoncini and Roni Ben-Hur on the web.


Track Listing: Killing Me Softly; I Concentrate on You;Smile; That's Earl, Brother; You Are a Story; Anna's Dance; Out of This World; Besame Mucho; Sofia's Butterfly; Set Blue.

Personnel: Gene Bertoncini: acoustic guitar; Roni Ben-Hur: electric guitar.

Title: Smile: Jazz Therapy Volume 1 | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Motema Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "OUTgoing" CD/LP/Track Review OUTgoing
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Move Upstairs" CD/LP/Track Review Move Upstairs
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.