Jerry Bergonzi: Tenor of the Times

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COMPOSERS: Jerry Bergonzi
LABELS: Savant
ALBUM TITLE: Tenor of the Times
WORKS: Tenor of the Times
PERFORMER: Jerry Bergonzi (saxophone), Renato Chicco (piano), Dave Santoro (bass), Andrea Michelutti (drums)
The title sounds hubristic, especially if you’ve never even heard of Jerry Bergonzi, which might be the case – he’s a frequent recording artist and leader, but nothing of his has ever really broken out beyond the hardcore audience. Still, that’s no reason to pass up listening to this meaty set which tends to play out


at a sort of fierce medium-throttle, as if the band were deliberately idling through the gears when they know they can blow the roof off whenever they want. Bergonzi has built on his early allegiance to Sonny Rollins with a dark, gnarled kind of phrasing that resolutely avoids note-spinning and strings of quavers. He writes moody pieces that have the odd knack of raising a smile. He gets noble support from his team – Renato Chicco is particularly fine – and suddenly that title seems entirely justified. Richard Cook