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December 1998

Bruce Gertz/Ken Cervenka
Shut Wide Open
Double-Time Jazz

The art of the ensemble, led here by bassist Gertz and trumpeter Cervenka, displays itself in a lively and diverse set of originals by band members Jerry Bergonzi (tenor) and Bruce Barth (piano). What's consistent is the good taste and mutual understanding, which extends itself even to the new compositions, which sound confident enough to have been around for ages: Gertz's breezy "Letter From Ghana," based on Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," flows flawlessly into the next track, a whimsical tribute to "Toots" by Bergonzi. Cervenka's title tune is a post-bop scamper built on "Rhythm" changes, while "Tenerife" is a kind of "Caravan" for the '90s, resonating with open horn harmonies and imaginative solos. Drummer Jorge Rossy neatly splashes his cymbals to underscore all the fun, which goes south for a samba on Gertz's "Pluto Was Here," loosely based on Jobim's "Triste" and a cha-cha on Barth's "Revolving Door," sustaining the excitement and good vibes to the album's final measure.

Originally published in December 1998
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