Jerry Bergonzi: Simply Put (2009)
Jerry Bergonzi is a true giant among modern day saxophonists. The Boston-based artist's fourth effort for Savant is perhaps his finest solo outing to date, amid his extensive output as a first-call session ace. No frills or reinventions here, as Bergonzi cuts to the chase in buoyant fashion via his full- bodied tenor sax sound and razor sharp lines, dappled with edgy phrasings, and lyrically resplendent phrasings.
The saxophonist transmits an authoritative presence, abetted by his ace rhythm section. A brilliant improviser, Bergonzi whirls through medium to up-tempo swing grooves, interlaced with ferocious bop stylizations and sinuous unison choruses with pianist Bruce Barth. They improvise upon a given theme, often spiced with warmly melodic overtones and memorable hooks.
Bergonzi's sax parts are often drenched with emotive and vocal-like attributes, and he looms as a vivid storyteller on the revved up swing rendition of "Out Of Nowhere." The quartet executes an up-tempo ballad during "What If," as the leader translucently melds power with tenderness, while topping it off with yearning notes. Here and throughout, Barth acts as the middleman due to his vibrant comping and contrasting solo spots. Moreover, Bergonzi uses the soprano sax to generate a sweet harmonic overture on the finale, "Malaga." A superior modern jazz exposition.
Track Listing: Mr. MB; Dancing In The Dark; Casadiche; Come Fly With Me; Wipper Snapper; Out Of Nowhere; Crossing The Naeff; Transphybian; What If?; Malaga.
Personnel: Jerry Bergonzi: tenor and soprano sax; Bruce Barth: piano; Dave Santoro: bass; Andrea Michelutti: bass.