Bergeron_span3
April 2007

Wayne Bergeron
Plays Well With Others
Concord Records

Bergeron’s high-note trumpet work is astonishing, as always, but that is only one element of this big-band CD’s appeal, and he keeps it in proportion. His exchanges with his old boss Maynard Ferguson on the F blues called “Maynard & Waynard” have the inevitable element of stratospheric competition. Yet, even that track, nicely arranged by Gordon Goodwin, is dominated by musicality, not exhibitionism. The guest shot was Ferguson’s final recording before he died last year and a reminder that there was much more to him than screeching above the clouds.

Bergeron’s middle-range flugelhorn variations on the melody chorus of “You Go to My Head” and his improvisation in the solo he shares with tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb are as beautiful as his lead adventures in the out-chorus are stirring. Covering all trumpet bases, he uses a Harmon mute for atmosphere and a brief solo in Geoff Stradling’s adaptation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” before cutting loose on open horn.

Another aspect of the album’s balanced approach is that although Bergeron is the leader and principal soloist, he is far from the only one. Christlieb, tenor man Bob Sheppard, pianist Christian Jacob, reedist Dan Higgins, trumpeter Warren Luening and trombonists Bill Reichenbach and Andy Martin make impressive use of solo space. Martin’s chorus on a fast “Georgia” is a highlight. Goodwin, Stradling, Higgins, Tom Kubis, Wally Minko, Joey Sellers and Bill Liston contributed arrangements to this joyful CD.

Originally published in April 2007
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