Jerry Bergonzi, Nearly Blue Review
Jerry Bergonzi is a Boston Massachusetts saxophonist, educator, author, and composer that forms a perfect bridge between jazz’s past and its present. Bergonzi is known for his interpretations of jazz standards and his original compositions that have unusual harmonic progressions. With a vast body of recorded work, Bergonzi has recently enjoyed a string of releases on the Savant Records label. He is back with another collection of standards and originals titled, Nearly Blue. Helping Bergonzi explore the sonic possibilities are Renato Chicco on Hammond B-3 and Andrea Michelutti on drums. The recording contains three Bergonzi originals and seven standards. Bergonzi speaks to why he chose the standards he did, “I just adore the melodies of these tunes. I love standards.”Positives: Bergonzi is a player’s player, and Nearly Blue finds him in top form in a setting that allows each note to be savored. Bottom Line: Bergonzi’s Nearly Blue is ten tracks of tenor saxophone heaven. Bergonzi is a significant influence on many of today’s jazz players, and here he shows off his command of medium-tempo songs with a stunning modern straight-ahead vocabulary. Bergonzi surprisingly avoids the jazz clichés while still maintaining his roots in the history and language of jazz. While the tenor saxophonist has plenty of blowing space, he also leaves room for Chicco and Michelutti to contribute too. “It Might as Well Be Spring” has a smart arrangement that plays with time feel and opens the date with style. Overall, the tempos are all set to a relaxed medium marking. Even the usual barn burner “Countdown” is set to a medium tempo. Don’t think for a minute though that there is no energy, Bergonzi’s playing and rhythmic playfulness shines at these tempos. Known for his ability to superimpose alternative harmonic structures over the changes, these tempos also give us mere mortals a chance to enjoy the colors more thoroughly. Standouts are “How About You?,” “On Green Dolphin Street,” and his harmonic adventure, “Tectonic Plates.” This is a must-have for any jazz listener, and that’s the short of it!
Connect with Jerry Bergonzi: Website |
It Might as Well Be Spring
How About You?
On Green Dolphin Street
We'll Be Together Again
While You Were Out
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Higgsboson (Bonus Track)
Release Date: February 28, 2020