Jerry Bergonzi

Three For All

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Three for All is a trio recording featuring Dave Santoro on bass and Andrea Michelutti on drums, but Bergonzi doesn't allow the limitations of the configuration to keep him from fattening up the sound. Often he augments his tenor saxophone with his own overdubbed soprano sax and piano, creating rich, expansive harmonies, and those moments are among the record's most captivating. The opening track, "Crop Circles" -- Bergonzi wrote all of the material himself, and also produced and arranged the entire album -- is a classic bopper, and Bergonzi, his multi-tracked self and his crew drive the melody into appropriately hypnotic circular patterns. On "Between the Lines" the horns' complementary melodies are so closely entwined that the listener could be forgiven for thinking only one musician is playing both lines. Similarly, "Tectonic Plates" and "Bluebonics" can fool even the most observant listener into believing this recording was made by a tight-knit quintet with thousands of road miles. In the end, though, it always comes back to that tenor, as Bergonzi is simply one of the most dependably innovative players we've got. While he allows plenty of space for development to his two co-horts, both of whom support the leader more than adequately, and the fuller band sound gives the music more depth than the trio naturally can, it's ultimately Bergonzi's main instrument that commands the lion's share of the attention. His tone is robust, his probing expositions intelligent (particularly so on "End of the Mayan Calendar," imbued with the sense of mystery its title suggests), and his composition and arrangement skills are exemplary. On tracks such as the closing "Fidh" and "Obama," Michelutti and Santoro may provide the drive, but it's Bergonzi's articulate phrasing and constantly brilliant improvs that leave the listener breathless.

blue highlight denotes track pick