Jerry Bergonzi

Tenor of the Times

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Jerry Bergonzi has long been one of the top tenor saxophonists of his generation, though too many critics have typically overlooked his work in favor of major-label stylists on his instrument. Joined by a fine rhythm section, including pianist Renato Chicco, bassist Dave Santoro, and drummer Andrea Michelutti (all of whom are worthy of wider recognition as well), Bergonzi also takes advantage of his first date for Savant to feature his considerable skills as a composer. His robust approach to tenor is immediately apparent in his catchy "Acookarache," a powerful post-bop vehicle with a Latin undercurrent. "Bob Berg" is a driving midtempo tribute to its namesake, a fine tenor saxophonist who died in a tragic holiday traffic accident a few years prior to this session. Also enjoyable is "Stumbelina," a quirky, playful theme that the musicians interpret flawlessly. The leader's rapid-fire "Skull Shining" is a wild roller coaster anthem that seems like a natural piece to expand for a larger ensemble. The one standard of the date is a snappy treatment of "You're My Everything." This rewarding effort is well worth acquiring.

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