287

Shelly Berg: The Nearness Of You

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Shelly Berg: The Nearness Of You Pianist Shelly Berg's career as a professional musician stretches back for 40 years. He began playing professionally in his early teens and has since been a solo performer, a bandleader, arranger and accompanist. In 2007 he became Dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, University of Miami. Despite this long and varied career, The Nearness Of You is his first solo CD. Berg takes on production duties in addition to performing and arranging, to create a fine set of interpretations of familiar tunes. One of the few things Berg isn't directly responsible for is the writing of the sleeve notes, which are by All About Jazz contributor, Dr. Judith Schlesinger.

Berg has worked with a disparate array of musicians, including rock band Kiss, blues singer and guitarist Bonnie Raitt, and singer-songwriter Richard Marx. However, he has chosen not to experiment with jazz versions of rock or pop songs on this first solo release, preferring instead to draw on a more typical jazz repertoire. The nine tracks include Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma," as well as standards such as Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When," and Washington and Carmichael's "The Nearness of You." Berg also includes two medleys showcasing three tunes each from the musicals My Fair Lady and Guys and Dolls. Each medley lasts well over eight minutes, and it's to Berg's credit that his playing retains its freshness throughout, although "I've Never Been in Love Before," the middle piece in the Guys and Dolls medley, lacks, perhaps, the invention of the other tunes.

The sound is exceptionally good. The piano is a German Steinway, "more colorful than the American Steinway" according to Berg, and the venue for the recording was the Gusman Concert Hall of the Frost School. The quality of the instrument, the hall's acoustics and the talents of engineer Paul Griffith and piano technician Paul Bruno come together to ensure that Berg's playing is presented to the best possible effect. Every note is crystal clear, whether Berg is playing slow ballads such as "The Nearness of You" or faster, up-tempo, show tunes. There are no surprises on this CD, but familiarity is often a comfortable feeling and Berg's piano style is both accessible and warm.

Track Listing: My Fair Lady medley (Show me, I

Personnel: Shelly Berg: piano.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Arbors Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Repeater" CD/LP/Track Review Repeater
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles" CD/LP/Track Review Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 6, 2016
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "A Curious Feeling" CD/LP/Track Review A Curious Feeling
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!