Gene Bertoncini: Concierto de Aranjuez / Spain
Concierto de Aranjuez / Spain
Gene Bertoncini (guitar)
Concerti (Ambient CD-007)
Mark Feldman, Rob Moose (violins), Keely Dylia (viola), Dana Leong (cello).
Composed by Joaquin Rodrigo/Chick Corea.
Recorded: Stamford, CT March 24-25, 2005
Rating: 80/100 (learn more)
Gene Bertoncini is best described as an elegant player. The fine veteran guitarist brings a gentle style to his playing that often understates his virtuosity. On this cut he plays with a string quartet and the masterful acoustic bass of David Finck, showing the bridge that can exist between classical and jazz when explored by willing and able artists. To this end, he is only partially successful.
The idea to do a medley of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" and Chick Corea's "Spain" was one that fascinated me. Bertoncini demonstrates an intuitive feel for the inherent sensibilities of these disparate yet similarly inspired works. The string ensemble feels very comfortable in the classical mode and Bertoncini seems equally at home in this sensitive but deliberate setting, where he plays in an accomplished classical Spanish guitar motif. When the song switches abruptly to the "Spain" portion of the medley, Bertoncini and David Finck lead the way for the other strings punctuated by a rousing pizzicato bass solo that is free to be adventurous, especially in its aggressive tone, and pushes the pulse of the tune. Bertoncini comps with soft chords behind Finck's plucky bass until he starts his own solo, which he plays with a lightness and delicacy that is draped in the silky finery of his approach. The strings demonstrate their own unified voice in a tension-building arco chorus that just doesn't cut it for me and yields to an inappropriately sweet violin solo before Bertoncini returns it to the Corea melody line and then back again to the Rodrigo finale, tying the two melodies together for one last time. Clearly an ambitious undertaking that despite its shortcomings makes clear that both Bertoncini and Finck are adept enough to straddle the worlds of classical and jazz comfortably.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello