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Bob Berg: Another Standard

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Like Mike Brecker, Ernie Watts and Bob Mintzer, Berg blends a contemporary sound and Coltrane-like urgency and technique. He plays with a gripping sense of passion throughout this album of standards. His hard-hitting, well-matched rhythm section (bassist Ed Howard, drummer Gary Novak and the fiery, vastly underrated pianist David Kikoski ) lifts the energy level to another plane.

The modern arrangements employ reharmonization (modal-sounding changes reminiscent of the classic Coltrane Quartet are the order of the day) and rhythmic reconfiguration. Randy Brecker (trumpet and fluegelhorn) and Mike Stern (guitar) make guest appearances on the program.

“You and the Night and the Music” opens the album at a blistering pace. “Summer Wind” follows at a lilt, with Berg in a Coltrane-ish “inch worm” mode. There are reharmonized versions of “Michelle” and “It Was a Very Good Year.” (Berg plays “My Favorite Things”-style soprano on the latter.) The tenor man and Stern prove an excellent match on Berg’s “No Trouble,” the album’s lone original. A masterful, heavyweight album.