This is an historic recording. Two saxophonists – George Garzone (born in Boston 1950) and Jerry Bergonzi (born in Boston 1947) “battle” to see who is the most influential, still active, saxophonist of their generation. This is the first time they are heard together in a studio session.
There are various similarities: Both are educators – both at Berklee School of Music. Combined, they have tutored almost every important young saxophonist – Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin… you name them. But most importantly, they are both uncompromising artists and exponents of an expressionistic music influenced by among others John Coltrane. For 40 years George Garzone has explored the free improvisational aspects of Coltrane with his band The Fringe. But as a sideman with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, George Russell, Gunther Schuller, Tom Harrell, Rachel Z, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Peacock, Billy Hart and even Jamaaladeen Tacuma, one hears Coltrane’s spirit adjusted to the individual framework with an effortless, natural ease.
Jerry Bergonzi received his first recognition in several of Dave Brubeck’s groups through the 1970’s. Since then he has appeared on countless albums as a bandleader and guest. He communicates his concise ideas brilliantly with a virile, aggressive sound and an impressive energy. Just as with Coltrane, Garzone’s and Bergonzi’s music grows out of a soulful spirituality.
In their hometown of Boston they pop up at each other’s concerts to sit in. Their mutual respect is unquestionable. Now these two giants of jazz are finally together on the same studio recording. With them are pianist Carl Winther, bassist Johnny Åman, and drummer Anders Mogensen playing original material composed by Winther and Bergonzi. The dynamics are close to explosive in a muscular repertoire that doesn’t shy swinging grooves. Some might perhaps call it an aggressive recording. However, the qualities are not found in the aggressive character of the music, but in the joy of challenge and interplay and in defining each element of the music together.
Carl Winther is an enterprising and original pianist and composer. He has toured all over the world, and is a representative of the high standard of Danish jazz internationally. His playing sounds by no means inexperienced – to the contrary, he is unimpressed in a session with two of the world’s greatest saxophonists playing potent jazz with a capital J.
Bassist Johnny Åman comes from Finland and is one of the preferred bassists in his new home in Sweden.
Since the early 1990’s, Anders Mogensen’s dynamic drumming has made him a very popular drummer with many superb recordings including albums with Bob Berg and David Liebman – and now George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi. He is on the same wavelength with their energy and intensity. No holds are barred, everyone feels great – and this music makes it clear why jazz is better than a day job!