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Gene Bertoncini & Jack Wilkins

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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 Mainieri and Sam Most. Bertoncini worked with Clark Terry, Paul Winter, Nancy Wilson, and in the television orchestras of Merv Griffin and Skitch Henderson in the '60s. He also backed Tony Bennett and worked with the Metropolitan Opera House orchestra. During the '70s, Bertoncini played with Wayne Shorter and Charles McPherson, then formed a duo with Mike Moore. They've played and recorded together over parts of two decades, with Bertoncini selecting the material and writing arrangements. Their performances blend classical, light (not "lite") jazz, Latin, and popular material. Bertoncini and Moore were joined by Michael Urbaniak in a trio date in 1981, and he's also led workshops and taught at the Eastman School. Bertoncini has recorded for Stash, Chiaroscuro, and Omisound. He and Moore have several releases available on CD. ~ Ron Wynn