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Jerry Bergonzi: Just Within

This album has a dark quality-not menacing, but like a place where danger could appear. Tenor saxophonist Bergonzi’s trio (Dan Wall, organ; Adam Nussbaum, drums) conveys a tough, business-like approach. The leader’s tenor suggests, at various times, Trane, Rollins, Shorter, Joe Henderson and Charles Lloyd filtered though a modern, unsentimental, New York attitude. Wall, akin to the late Larry Young, is someone who can do more than play the Jimmy Smith party line, and Nussbaum is a springy, sometimes lumpy, Elvin Jones-influenced drummer who is plenty interactive.

Bergonzi squirms through a reharmonized “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” dips into his staccato Rollins bag on “Maximum Propensity” and waxes Trane-ish on “The Ray.” (The latter two are Bergonzi originals.) On his “Solar Return” the tenor man and company burn furiously, further proving that when you step into these cats’ den, get ready for the all-practiced-up hard-core brunt of jazz. Ow!

Originally Published