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Jerry Bergonzi: Tenor of the Times

Folks who know of Jerry Bergonzi only as the successor to Paul Desmond in the Dave Brubeck Quartet could be misled by that credential. In contrast to the light and lyrical altoist, Bergonzi is a fiery tenor player out of the John Coltrane school. And like such contemporaries as Michael Brecker, he has internalized the Coltrane legacy and developed an identifiable sound of his own. His even, expressive tone exhibits a smoother, less stringent core than that of his peers and, with as much technique as anyone playing today, he spins long, sequential phases that exploit the instrument’s range. But although Bergonzi can articulate complex phrases, his lines always make sense and they’re rhythmically on the mark.

Except for the uptempo standard “You’re My Everything,” all the tunes on Tenor of the Times are Bergonzi originals. They range from a dark, somber “The Tomb” to a very bright and sparkling “Skull Shining.”

Bassist Dave Santoro and drummer Andrea Michelutti have played with Bergonzi for many years. Veteran pianist Renato Chicco complements them well, and the quartet constitutes a finely integrated unit.

Originally Published