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East Meets Midwest (feat. Bob Bodley)

Gene Bertoncini & Kenny Poole

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Album Review

New Yorker Bertoncini and Cincinnatian Poole have contrasting styles on acoustic nylon string guitars: the former is more classic and classical, while the latter is a bit more swing-oriented. Together they are perfectly in tune with one another's notions and inclinations, playing these 12 standards faithfully and with tender loving care. Acoustic bassist Bob Bodley joins them for several cuts, but is mixed well in the background, unobtrusive and quiet, as the guitarists weave their own mezzo piano spell. Easy swing is the thing for well-known tunes like "Tangerine" and "A Sleeping Bee," which bookend the recording. (The latter piece is loaded with interplay and an opportunity for Bodley to solo). Blues is also prevalent on the pair of Duke Ellington numbers, "Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me" and "Sophisticated Lady." "The Shadow of Your Smile" holds the most intrigue for the two plectrists; it sounds like they are waiting for each other to make a move, not tentative but coy and cunning on this boppish, faster version. They also change up the bop flag-waver "Cherokee," turning it into a samba with reserve and resolve. Of the Brazilian pieces, "Estate" starts in a free rubato mode leading to a molasses slow bossa nova, "All the Things You Are" is turned into a quick samba, and "Woman From Bahia" is a cool samba. "Willow Weep for Me" is the longest track at nine minutes, and the loping melody lingers on and on. The highlight is Claude Thornhill's "Snowfall," with an almost country feel informing two chord embellishments. A good teaming for these masterful players and underdocumented musicians. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 06 April 1937 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the more elegant, tasteful, and sensitive guitarists, Gene Bertoncini has perfected the art of playing soft, sentimental music and presenting it in a light, fluid fashion, yet retaining a degree of feeling and spontaneity. He began on guitar at nine and was a professional at 16, playing on a children's television show. Bertoncini took architecture at Notre Dame rather than music, though he later returned to full-time playing. He played with a group led by Buddy Rich that also included Mike...
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East Meets Midwest (feat. Bob Bodley), Gene Bertoncini
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