Gene Bertoncini

Evolution

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Gene Bertoncini's rather inauspicious debut as a leader was recorded for the obscure Evolution label as an easy listening date, circa 1966-1970. Although the classically trained acoustic guitarist has long since proved his worth with many rewarding albums, this record is a bit of a disappointment. In spite of Gene Lees' raving liner notes, and the presence of jazz veterans like Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Bobby Rosengarden, neither the material nor the arrangements have stood the test of time very well. Although there are show tunes of merit such as "Heather on the Hill" and "Soon It's Gonna Rain," the preponderance of forgettable pop tunes like "Elenore," "Little Green Apples," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Hey Jude" (though the latter has an intriguing "Bolero"-like vamp), and Walter Levinsky's drab charts make this long out of print LP more of a footnote in Gene Bertoncini's career, rather than a collectable worth tracking down.

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