Jazz CD Reviews

Jerry Bergonzi – Convergence – Savant Records

This album would be good for those interested in improvisation at its best.

Published on September 27, 2011

Jerry Bergonzi – Convergence – Savant Records

Jerry Bergonzi – Convergence – Savant Records SCD 2110, 53:55 ***½:

(Jerry Bergonzi—tenor & soprano saxophones; Bruce Barth—piano; Dave Santoro—bass; Andrea Michelutti—drums)

Jerry Bergonzi at age eight began playing the clarinet.  He listened to Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Lester Young.  He received help from an uncle who was a jazz musician.  The uncle wrote out solos for Bergonzi to play.  When Jerry was 12 years old he obtained his first saxophone (alto).  A friend introduced him to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  Jerry was playing gigs with a band called The Stardusters at age 13.  During high school he switched to tenor sax.  He worked some sessions with some Berklee College students.  He attended Berklee College and Lowell University.  He played bass for awhile wherever he could get gigs with the local bands.  He moved to New York City in 1972.  He lived in a 3rd floor loft and many musicians met there to do sessions — now known musicians such as Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Pat LaBarbera, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Victor Lewis and more.

It was during that time he became internationally known performing with Dave Brubeck and Sons.  Jerry returned to Boston in 1977 keeping busy gigging five nights a week at many of the local venues.  He has many accomplishments as a composer with over 100 songs registered with ASCAP.  In the late 80s Jerry became an educator for all instruments in improvisation expanding to working abroad.   Jerry Bergonzi has an extensive biography at his web site www.jerrybergonzi.com/bio .

Convergence is the third of three albums on Savant record label with a similar style by Bergonzi.  The other two releases in order are Simply Put, and Three for All.  Convergence consists of 9 original compositions by Jerry Bergonzi.  There is an additional cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s song, “I’ve Got a Crush on You”.

Jerry Bergonzi is a respected educator and composer and part of the cutting edge and is indeed a teacher of the art of improvisation.  On this album he has put together a small quartet that definitely plays well together and off each other.  The musicians have worked comfortably together for the past decade.  Jerry takes the lead on most of the songs and does some overdubbing of himself on soprano sax with his tenor.  The quartet does a little bit of everything in rhythms and melodies.

My favorite was the lead track “Lend Me a Dream”.  I am not sure how much over dubbing on this track there is but it sounds like Jerry harmonizing on soprano with his tenor sax.  It was very enjoyable.  “Squid Ink” has another pleasant melody with a Latin rhythm, again with Jerry overdubbing himself.

Convergence has some good liner notes explaining the album’s concepts and a bit about the musicians.  It has good quality sound in the recording.  This album would be good for those interested in improvisation at its best.

TrackList:  Lend Me a Dream; I’ve Got a Crush on You; Squid Ink; Stoffy; Silent Flying, Osiris; Mr. Higgins; Ddodd; Convergence; Seventh Ray.

—Tim Taylor

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