Jerry Bergonzi / Jacek Kochan / Piotr Lemańczyk

Three Point Shot

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Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane were hardly the first saxmen to record something without a pianist, but when they led pianoless saxophone trios in the late ''50s, they let it be known that they don't necessarily need one in order to sound great. Rollins and Coltrane demonstrated that even if a saxophonist opts to employ a pianist on most of his/her recordings, there is nothing wrong with going pianoless on occasion. And that lesson obviously wasn't lost on tenor man Jerry Bergonzi, who forms a pianoless trio with acoustic bassist Piotr Lemanczyk and drummer Jacek Kochan on Three Point Shot (which was recorded when Bergonzi visited Poland in 2009). Bergonzi is not listed as the leader of this post-bop date; the three are listed as co-leaders, which makes sense because all three of them help with the writing, and because they sound like they are joined at the hip. And the lack of a piano serves the trio well; an appealing sparseness prevails whether they are favoring speed on "Moscow Boogie" or going for something more reflective on the Coltrane-ish "Cuppa Joe" and "On Again, Off Again." This is a very urban sound, and it's a street sound; Three Point Shot is the type of intimate acoustic jazz one hopes to encounter in the streets of New York, Chicago, Paris, or any other major city where jazz musicians are performing in pianoless settings because, obviously, an acoustic piano (as opposed to electric keyboards) isn't something that improvisers are going to be carrying around with them on the subway. Three Point Shot isn't the most essential album that Bergonzi has been a part of, but it is definitely a worthwhile listen if one is in the mood for pianoless saxophone jazz.

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